ugadi

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The people of Karnataka consider Ugadi to be an auspicious time for commencing new ventures. This is the time when New Year’s Day is also celebrated in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

While it is called Ugadi in A.P. and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is known as Gudipadawa.

The term “Ugadi” has its origin in the Sanskrit word “Yugadi”, that means ‘starting of a new Yuga or period’. This traditional festival is usually celebrated in the second half of March or in early April. People from all over Karnataka celebrate this festival with much enthusiasm and gaiety.

Ugadi is celebrated by decorating the temples with fresh flowers and fresh mango leaves. Among the flowers mainly the sweet smelling jasmine is used for the decorations. Most people also decorate their homes and puja rooms with flowers and mango leaves. There is an interesting legend behind the practice of decorating with mango leaves.

The legend goes that Subramanya and Ganesha, the sons of Lord Shiva and Parvati loved eating mangoes. Kartik urged people to tie fresh leaves of mango tree to the doorway in order to indicate a good yields.

All the members of the family gather and pray together and seek blessings from the Almighty during Ugadi celebrations. Food, as is the normal trend in all festivals, occupies an important place in this festival too. Special dishes are prepared and enjoyed by the people to mark the festival.

The next step is offer prayers to Sun, before accepting Vepapoota Pachadi (Neem Flower Pickle) on an empty stomach. Entrance of the houses are decorated with fresh mango leaves. It is noteworthy that we use mango leaves and coconuts (as in a Kalasam, to initiate any pooja) only on auspicious occasions to propitiate gods.

People also splash fresh cow dung water on the ground in front of their house and draw colorful floral designs. This is a common sight in every household. People perform the ritualistic worship to God invoking his blessings before they start off with the new year.