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Yugadi, The New Year Festival

Yugadi, means the Yuga (A timeline) + Aadi (Beginning). It also marks start of new life as most of trees shed there old leaves and start flourishing with flowers and new leaves in this eternal cycle of life. A rain comes during this festival season cooling earth and rejuvenating life. It brings a rich bounce of flora, fills our hearts with joy.

In 2011, the date of Ugadi is April 4. Ugadi (yuga and adi) means beginning of an astronomical cycle. It is also the first day of Chaitra, the first month of the traditional Hindu calendar followed in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Ugadi is also known as Chadramana Ugadi or Chandramana Varsha Thodaku or Vatsara Arambha.

Why this day only(Chaitra Shuddha Padya)??
In one samvatsara(year), there are two Ayanas – Uttarayana and Dakshinayana. In Bhagavadgita, Lord Krishna says that whoever(saints) passes away in uttarayana will reach the higher places and for the same reason, the greatest warrior Bhishma waited for this time to leave his body. We have 6 Rutus in Indian calender. Vasanta Rutu is considered as the mother of all the Rutus. This is the time when we find a change which marks the start of new life of most of the shed trees. In this Vasanta Rutu, Chaitra is the first month and Padya is the first day and so this day is very much apt for the New Year Festival.

Yugadi doesn’t mean the starting of any Yuga like Krita, Treta, Dwapara or Kali. It is the day when CHaturmukha Brahma, the Creator created the Satya loka. At this time, he made his mind to create a world which is completely righteous. So, philosophically speaking, this day reminds us to follow the path of Dharma to achieve Moksha. Unlike the New year of other countries, which is celebrated with no such great importance, we repent for the mistakes that might have been done knowingly or unknowingly and take a new resolution to be on the right path(Dharma).

Yugadi’s importance :

  • The creator created the Satyaloka at the start of his creation.
  • Sri Vishnu took the form of or incarnated as Matsya(Large fish) at the end of Manvantara.
  • Sri Rama’s return from his 14 years of exile to forest.
  • It is believed that Sri Rama killed the Vanara King Vali on the same day.
  • Lord Indra presented jewels to King Vasu.
  • It is the same day when Shalivahana got his throne.
  • Start of Shalivahana Shaka.

Different Names of Ugadi:
In Karnataka and Andhra, the festival is celebrated as Ugadi or Yugadi.
In Maharashtra,  the festival is celebrated as Gudi Padwa, whereas in Punjab, the same festival is celebrated by the name Baishaki. In some of the North Indian regions, the festival is called by the name “Uttara Pratipat“.

Rituals that should be observed on the Day:

  1. Abhyanjana Snana – Everyone will get up early and take the oil bath. This oil bath is very good for skin, beauty. It reduces heat also.
  2. Gruhalankara – Decoration of Pooja room and the house. This is required to show the celebration by using Taliru Torana(Mango leaves), clean the house. Decorate the pooja room after cleaning all the pooja items.
  3. Sankalpa – By the name of God, we make a resolution of not repeating the same mistakes that we had done before and follow the good path. This may be something like Yama and Niyama in Ashtanga Yoga.
  4. Devata Pooja – Just like all other day, the pooja is first observed to Ganesha and then the Kuladevata or Ishtadevata. But, on this day, we specially worship the Creator Brahma and the Kalapurusha(Time) for their blessings.
  5. Panchanga Sravana – listening to the yearly calendar is an important event on Yugadi day. Experts will open the new Panchanga on that day and explain the forecast of rain, crops, storms, crop prices and other relevant things. Predictions of the whole year are made to make people prepared to face any situation.
  6. Daana and Dharma – This is one of the major aspect which you can never see in other customs. On this day, people go to orphanages or slums to distribute sweets or donate money for their food. People also donate new clothes to the needy people. This type of Annadanam or Annasantarpanam can be seen in Hindu custom only.
  7. Vishesha Naivedya – This festival is a symbolic celebration of new life. Welcoming the coming year by drinking traditionally made reciepe mainly of Bevu (Neem Buds/ Flowers for bitterness) + Bella (Jaggary for Sweet). This means taking good and bad times of life equally as life actually is. If we view this scientifically also, the neem leaves are very good for our healt and act as a major medicinal plant for heat, removing the poison content in the body etc. But, to be easy to eat as it is very bitter, we eat it with jaggery.

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