Ugadi /Yugadi is the first day of the Hindu calendar (first day of the first month, Chaitra).
It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation on this day - Chaitra suddha padhyami or the Ugadi day. Also the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya's calculations proclaimed the Ugadi day from the sunrise on as the beginning of the new year, new month and new day.It is the beginning of hindu new year.
It also marks the arrival of spring. Spring is considered the first season of the year hence also heralding a new year and a new beginning.Yuga means Start & Aadi means Era. Therefore yugadi means "Start of a new era". It is the wonderful and colourful festival, because after the Holi (the purification of the soul by imbibing Godly knowledge, inculcating the divine virtues by replacing the vices with virtues) the New age, New yuga, and New era will be start. So, it is the time to change ourselves or to purify ourselves by inculcating the divine virtues.
Ugadi is celebrated with festive fervor in Maharashtra,Sindh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While it is called Ugadi in A.P. and Karnataka,in Maharashtra it is known as Gudipadava".Sindhis, people from Sindhcelebrate the same day as their New Year day Cheti Chand. Symbolically, it signifies thanks giving to celebrate bounteous crops as well as signaling the end of an old era and the beginning of a new era.
On Ugadi day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a head bath after which they decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. The significance of tying mango leaves relates to a legend. It is said that Kartik (or Subramanya or Kumara Swamy) and Ganesha, the two sons of Lord Siva and Parvathi were very fond of mangoes. As the legend goes Kartik exhorted people to tie green mango leaves to the doorway signifying a good crop and general well-being.
The day begins with ritual showers (oil bath) followed by prayers, and then the eating of a specific mixture of -
Neem Buds/Flowers for bitterness Raw Mango for tang Tamarind Juice for sourness Green Chilli/Pepper for heat Jaggery for sweetness Pinch of Salt for saltiness This mixture with all six tastes called "Ugadi Pachhadi" in Telugu and "Bevu-Bella" symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of different experiences (sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise) , which should be accepted together and with equanimity - things that arein store for him/her in the coming year with gratitude.
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 refers to the new almanac pertaining to the coming year and makes a general benediction to all present.
In Andhra Pradesh, eatables such as "pulihora, bobbatlu" and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. In Karnataka too, similar preparations are made but called "puliogure" and "holige".
In Maharastra 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 & Puran Poli.
So on this auspicious day people pray for their health, wealth and prosperity and success in business too. Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures.
I wish that this new year bring in lots of happiness & joy to all !!
Blog Post - Courtesy:Various Sources