Ugadi, the festival of new beginnings, is a significant festival celebrated with joy and enthusiasm in Karnataka and other South Indian states. It marks the first day of Chaitra month in the Hindu lunisolar calendar and signifies the creation of the Universe according to Hindu mythology. The festival, which symbolizes hope, prosperity, and happiness, is celebrated by families and communities with traditional rituals, decorations, and savouries.
The preparations for the day-long festivities begin a few days in advance. People start the day with an oil bath and wear new traditional clothes. They clean their houses and offer prayers to the Panchanga, a Hindu almanac that marks the beginning of the new year. The Indra Dhwaja, a flag made of a bamboo pole, is also worshipped on this holy day.
Ugadi holds a special place for the region as it marks the beginning of nature’s annual cycle and the onset of the spring season. The festival is also considered an auspicious time to undertake new ventures. Devotees celebrate the day by participating in cultural and religious gatherings and preparing a grand feast for family and friends.
The highlight of the festival is a special delicacy, Bevu Bella, which captures the essence of Ugadi. It is made by combining various ingredients like tamarind, neem leaves, jaggery, raw mango, pepper, and salt. The dish signifies various human emotions, suggesting that the coming year will be filled with sweet-bitter life experiences.
Decorating the front door with red earth and a beautiful string of mango and neem leaves is another significant part of this sacred occasion. People also draw colourful patterns with rice or flowers, known as Kolamulus or Rangoli, in front of their houses.
Like any other festival in India, Ugadi is celebrated with good food. Special delicacies are prepared to celebrate the occasion, including Pachhadi, a type of chutney that is prepared by mixing six different ingredients and flavours. Other delicacies include Holige or Obattu and Puliogure. Desserts like payasam, Obbattu, and Boorelu are also prepared during the festival.
Ugadi signifies leaving the past behind and embracing the new beginning of life with positivity. It teaches us to cherish life’s simple pleasures, and with its traditional rituals, vibrant decorations, and authentic savouries, Ugadi is one of the most significant festivals of Karnataka.
Ugadi is an exuberant festival that represents peace, happiness, and prosperity. It is an occasion to celebrate new beginnings, and the festival’s spirit is reflected in the colourful celebrations and mouth-watering delicacies.