Ugadi or Ugaadi (literally - the start
of an era) is the new year's day for the people of the Deccan region
of India. While the people of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka use the
term Ugadi for this festival, the people of Maharashtra term the
same festival, observed on the same day, Gudi Padwa. Sindhis, people
from Sindh, celebrate the same day as their New Year day Cheti Chand.
Ugadi is celebrated on different day every year because the Hindu
calendar is lunisolar calendar. The Saka calendar begins with the
month of Chaitra (March/April) and the Ugadi mark the first day of
the new year.
The festival marks the new year day for people who follow the
southern Indian lunar calendar, pervasively adhered to in the states
of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. This calendar reckons
dates based on the Salivahana era (Salivahana Saka), which begins
its count from the supposed date of the founding of the Empire by
the legendary hero Salivahana. The Satavahana king Shalivahana (also
identified as Gautamiputra Satakarni) is credited with the
initiation of this era known as Shalivahana. The Salivahana era
begins its count of years from the year corresponding to 78 AD of
the Gregorian calendar. Thus, the year 2000 AD corresponds to the
year 1922 of the Salivahana Era.
In the terminology used by this lunar calendar, Ugadi falls on
Chaitra Sudhdha Paadyami or the first day of the bright half of the
Hindu month of Chaitra. This generally falls in the months of March
or April of the Gregorian calendar. In 2007, Ugadi falls on March
Telugu calender has a sixty year cycle and starts the new year on
ugadi i.e., on Chaitra Sudhdha Paadyami. After the completion of
sixty years, the calendar starts anew with the first year.
Observance in Andhra and Karnataka
The Telugu and Kannada people celebrate the festival with great
fanfare; gatherings of the extended family and a sumptuous feast are
de rigueur. The day, however, begins with ritual showers followed by
prayers, and then the eating of a specific mixture of -
This mixture with all six tastes (షడ్రుచులు),
called "Ugadi Pachhadi"(ఉగాది పచ్చడి) in Telugu and "Bevu-Bella"(ಬೇವು-ಬೆಲ್ಲ
) in Kannada, symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of pleasure
and pain, which should be accepted together and with equanimity.
Certain communities in Andhra Pradesh prepare a more elaborate
sauce, called Ugadi Pachchadi, which is a paste of tamarind, jaggery,
mango, neem Buds/Flowers etc. The symbolism and significance of the
preparation is the same.
Later, people traditionally gather to listen to the recitation of
the religious almanac (Panchangam) of the coming year, and to the
general forecast of the year to come. This is the Panchanga Sravanam,
an informal social function where an elderly and respected person
opens the new almanac pertaining to the coming year and makes a
general benediction to all present. The advent of television has
changed this routine somewhat, especially in the cities. Nowadays,
people turn on the TV to watch the recitation.
Ugadi celebrations are marked by literary discussions, poetry
recitations and recognition of authors of literary works through
awards and cultural programmes. Recitals of classical carnatic music
and dance are held in the evenings.
Observance in Maharashtra
The festival is called "Gudi Padwa" in Maharashtra; it heralds the
advent of new year and is one of the most auspicious days for
It is customary to erect ‘Gudis’ on the first day (Padwa) of the
Marathi New Year. 'Gudi' is a bamboo staff with a colored silk cloth
and a garlanded goblet atop it, which symbolizes victory or
achievement. Hence, this day is known as “Gudipadwa” in Maharashtra.
The New Year is ushered in with the worship of the "Gudi" and the
distribution of a specific "Prasad" comprising tender neem leaves,
gram-pulse and jaggery. The symbolism of tastes is the same as what
is described above.
Also in many Maharashtrian homes they celebrate the occasion by
making Shrikhand Puri
Ugadi Subhakankshulu! Wishing you all a very happy Ugadi and a great
Vasanta Navaratri (literally - The 9-night Spring festival) starts
on this day and culminates nine days later on Sri Ramanavami which
falls on Chaitra Sudhdha Navami. The new year as per the Solar
calendar followed by the people of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab and
West Bengal falls on 13/14/15th April.