|Begins||Chaitra Shuddha Padyami|
|Date||March (generally), April (occasionally)|
|2017 date||28 March|
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Ugadi (Ugādi, Samvatsarādi, Yugadi) is the New Year's Day for the people of the Kannada and Telugu communities in India. It falls on a different day every year because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar. This holiday is one of the most auspicious days for Kannadigas and Telugus. The Saka calendar begins with the month of Chaitra (March–April) and Ugadi marks the first day of the new year. Chaitra is the first month in Panchanga which is the Indian calendar. In some parts of India it is known as Vikram Samvat or Bhartiya Nav Varsh. This holiday is mostly prevalent in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra. Gudi Padwa, which is the Marathi new year, is also celebrated on the same day.
The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ādi (beginning): "the beginning of a new age". Yugadi specifically refers to the start of the age we are living in now, the Kali Yuga. The Kali Yuga began when Lord Krishna left the world. Maharshi Vedavyasa describes this event with the words "Yesmin Krishno divamvyataha, Tasmat eeva pratipannam Kaliyugam". Kali Yuga began on February 17 or 18, at midnight, in 3102 BCE.
This calendar reckons dates based on the Shalivahana era (Shalivahana Shaka), which begins its count from the supposed date of the founding of the Empire by the legendary hero Shalivahana. 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 CE of the Gregorian calendar. Thus, the year 2000 CE corresponds to the year 1922 of the Salivahana Era.
In the terminology used by this lunar calendar (also each year is identified as per Indian calendar), Yugadi falls on "Chaitra Shudhdha Paadyami" or the first day of the bright half of the Indian month of Chaitra. This generally falls in the months of March or April of the Gregorian calendar. In 2013, Ugadi falls on April 11. In 2014, Ugadi falls on 31 March. In 2016, Ugadi falls on April 8th.
Lunar calendars have a 60-year cycle and starts the new year on Yugadi i.e., on "Chaitra Sudhdha Paadyami" (Chaitram is the name of the first month, Suddha Padyami is the first day in the 15 days lunar cycle). After the completion of 60 years,the calendar starts a new with the first year.
The Yugadi is based on Bhāskara II lunar calculations in the 12th century. It starts on the sunrise immediately after the first new moon after Sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north on the spring equinox and enters the First Point of Aries. For example, the time for the new moon for Bijapur where Bhaskaracharya was born can be determined from the website However, people celebrate Yugadi on the next morning as Indian day starts from sun rise. Many Indians in America also celebrate Yugadi.
Observance of the festival
The festival marks the new year day for people between Vindhyas and Kaveri river who follow the South Indian lunar calendar, pervasively adhered to in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa.
The Telugu, Telangana, Kannada, Marathi, Kodava and the Konkani diaspora in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala celebrate the festival with great fanfare; gatherings of the extended family and a sumptuous feast are 'de rigueur'. The day begins with ritual showers with oil, followed by prayers. This tri-state festival could be the result of the common rulers from the Satavahana Dynasty.
While the people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana use the term Ugadi (ఉగాది) and Karnataka use the term Yugadi (ಯುಗಾದಿ) for this festival, the people of Maharashtra term the same festival, observed on the same day, Gudi Padwa (Marathi: गुढी पाडवा).
Preparations for the festival begin a week ahead. Houses are given a thorough wash. Shopping for new clothes and buying other items that go with the requirements of the festival are done with a lot of excitement.
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.
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. They pray for their health, wealth and prosperity and success in business too.Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures.
The celebration of Ugadi is marked by religious zeal and social merriment. Special dishes are prepared for the occasion. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, eatables such as "pulihora, bobbatlu (Bhakshalu/ polelu/ oligalu), New Year Burelu and Pachadi" and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. In Karnataka too, similar preparations are made but called "puliogure" and "holige". The Maharashtrians make "puran poli" or sweet rotis.
Ugadi pachchadi is a dish synonymous with Ugadi. It is made of new jaggery, raw mango pieces, neem flowers, and new tamarind which truly reflect life — a combination of six different tastes (sweet, sour, spice, salt, tangy, and bitter) symbolizing happiness, disgust, anger, fear, surprise, and sadness. Bevu-Bella (ಬೇವು-ಬೆಲ್ಲ) in Kannada, 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 through the New Year. The eating of a specific mixture of six tastes sourness, sweetness, saltness, bitternes, astringency, spicy/hot, pungency), called Ugadi Pachhadi (ఉగాది పచ్చడి) in Telugu. The pachadi varies in different regions.
The special mixture consists of all the flavours which the tongue can perceive, and one could say that each flavour symbolizes a feeling or emotion which is natural in life :
- Neem Buds/Flowers for its bitterness, signifying sadness
- Jaggery for sweetness, signifying happiness
- Green Chilli/Pepper for its hot taste, signifying anger
- Salt for saltiness, signifying fear
- Tamarind Juice for its sourness, signifying disgust
- Unripened Mango for its tang, signifying surprise
In Karnataka a special dish called Obbattu, or Holige (ಹೋಳಿಗೆ / ಒಬ್ಬಟ್ಟು), is prepared. It consists of a filling (gram and jaggery/sugar boiled and made in to a paste) stuffed in a flat roti-like bread. It is usually eaten hot or cold with ghee or milk topping or coconut milk at some places of Karnataka. In Andhra Pradesh, a special dish called Bobbattu (Polelu) (Puran Poli) (Oliga) are prepared on this occasion. This special dish is called Bhakshalu in Telangana.
Another dish which is prepared for Ugadi is Ugadi pachhadi. This dish is ceremonial, and it is not common to have it for other occasions.
Recitation of the Pachangam Almanac
Later, people traditionally gather to listen to the recitation of the religious Panchangam (almanac) of the new year, and the general forecast of the year to come. This is called the Panchanga Sravanam, an informal social function where an elderly and respected person will read the almanac. Panchamgam also contains astrology based on moon signs.
In Kannada, the greeting is "Yugadi Habbada Shubhashayagalu" - ಯುಗಾದಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು (Greetings for the festival of Yugadi) or "Hosa varshada shubhashayagalu" - ಹೊಸ ವರ್ಷದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು (Greetings on the new year).
In Telugu, the greeting is "kroththa yeta" / "ugadi panduga" palukarimpulu, or "ugadi subhakankshalu" - "క్రొత్త ఏట" / "ఉగాది పండుగ" పలుకరింపులు, లేదా ఉగాది శుభాకాంక్షలు (Greetings for the festival of ugadi) and "Nutana samvastara shubhakankshalu" -నూతన సంవత్సర శుభాకాంక్షలు (Greetings on the new year).
In Konkani, it would be Navve varsache shubhashay,ನವ್ವೆ ವರ್ಷಾಂಚೆ ಶುಭಾಶಯ್ Samsar padvyache shubhashay.ಸಂಸಾರ್ ಪದ್ವ್ಯಾನ್ಚೆ ಶುಭಾಶಯ್
In Marathi, it would be 'गुढी पाडव्याच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा' (Gudhi padvyachya hardik shubhechcha).
Predictions for the year
Ugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon's orbit. It is a day when mantras are chanted and predictions made for the new year. Traditionally, the panchangasravanam or listening to the yearly calendar was done at the temples or at the Town square but with the onset of modern technology, one can get to hear the priest-scholar on television sets right in one's living room.
- "2017 Marathi Calendar Panchang". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- "Ugadi a time to rejoice". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 4 April 2005.
- "B'lore welcomes Kannada New Year". IBN live. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
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