March 19th is Ugadi – New Year time for Andhra-ites and Maharashtrians. My kids were confused since they just had a New Year in January.
I had to explain to them that this is a Hindu New year…then of course, follow the inevitable questions of why we have a different New Year?
I’ve read many different explanations, the most common one being that Lord Brahma the creator of the universe is supposed to have started creation on Chaitra Suddha Padhyami – Ugadi Day.
It is also said that Bhaskacharya (the Indian Mathematician) did some calculations and proclaimed Ugadi Day from the sunrise as the start of the new year, new month and new day.
I personally think that Ugadi is during spring time and spring has always been traditionally associated with new life and new beginnings – a New Year
Growing up , the most symbolic aspect of the whole festival for me was the traditional Ugadi Pacchadi (chutney) made of different tastes – salt, hot chili powder, mango, tamarind and neem leaves – each taste indicating the different aspects of life - Sweet, salty, sour, bitter and spicy.
I also loved the ‘puran polis’ that were made to celebrate Gudi Padva.
If you are like me, you’ve probably forgotten and neglected your New Year resolutions. A time like Ugadi is useful to re-think or renew our New Year resolutions. It is also an auspicious time to start new ventures – so a good time to start anything that you’ve been procrastinating.
There is some confusion on which day Ugadi is to be celebrated because of the partial eclipse. Some people are celebrating it on March 19th and others on March 20th.
Whichever day you celebrate it, Happy Ugadi and Gudi Padva !