The Telugu and Kannada new year festival Ugadi, which is also known as Yugadi, is a festival of utmost importance and is celebrated with vigour and devotion, especially in the southern regions of the country. It is believed that on this day, that the people in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh celebrate as the beginning of a new year, a cycle of sixty years known as Samvatsara begins. Interestingly, each of the sixty years has been given one name each. This year, Ugadi will be celebrated on March 28. In Maharashtra, people celebrate Gudi Padwa, marking the same significance on the same day.
The festival is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month in the lunisolar Hindu calendar and marks the first day of the new year according to the calendar. People indulge in the festivities by cleaning their houses and plastering the walls with fresh cow-dung. Elaborate and beautiful rangoli designs reflect the onset of spring. People begin their day by taking a traditional, holy oil-bath and by offering their prayers. They begin by eating the leaves of the neem tree. In some places, people are even known to make a paste of the neem tree leaves that they mix with coriander seeds, jaggery and tamarind. It is believed that consuming this concoction purifies the blood and increases one’s immunity to fight diseases.
In the north, especial Maharashtra, people celebrate Gudi Padwa on this day, and also take part in the nine-days long Chaitra Navratri Puja. In Maharashtra, people make Puran Poli or shrikhand and poori as the main delicacies during the Gudi Padwa festivities.
Here are the puja timings for the festival,
Telugu Samvatsara Begins
Pratipada Tithi Begins = 08:26 on 28/Mar/2017
Pratipada Tithi Ends = 05:44 on 29/Mar/2017
This is the mantra that is chanted during the Ugadi festival:
Sarvasampad pradam thathaa !
Sarvarishta haram kurve
Nimba prathashanam shubham !!”