“There can be no better reminder of the bitter-sweet journey of life than the Ugadi festival. The corona crisis has brought people together and since all my family members are working from home, they are helping me out with the arrangements for both days.
Ugadi signifies the beginning of Telugu New Year with the start of a new month Chaitra Masam and this day is considered auspicious for everyone. While the festival signifies the onset of spring, considered to be the most colorful of all seasons, it also marks the beginning of agricultural activities. It is the end of the dry season for all the farmers, after which they start preparing for the next farming crop.
There are many practices linked to this festival. People in my village, Tummidi, watch the young moon in the evening. They link the moon to the season’s harvest and predict that the harvest will be good in the direction of the upper end of the moon and the harvest will be average in the direction of the lower end. On the same day, Telugu panchangam is read out in the presence of elders and children in the family. Along with the crop and rain predictions, questions about the horoscope are also asked on the day.
Another interesting practice is decorating houses and cleaning. We compete with each other in rangoli early in the morning and tie ‘toranalu’ (mango leaves strung together) and flowers to the doors and windows. Then, it is time for the oil bath and preparation of the famous ‘Ugadi Pachadi’. This is the special dish which is prepared with a mixture of six tastes ranging from sweet to bitter. It comprises jaggery, raw mango, tamarind, neem flowers, salt, and green chilli. This is the first dish we have on Ugadi day.
In the evening, people put various grains grown in the region in a mud pot and keep them in a public place. A plow tied to cattle is made to push the pot. The grain that falls at the farthest distance is considered to bring good fortune as a crop in that year.
On this occasion of the Telugu and Kannada new year, I hope all the gloom of the past is replaced with positivity and hope!”
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