Happy New Year
March 19, 2007 1:43 AM   Subscribe

It is spring here in India, and Ugadi (the Spring Festival) is being celebrated with much pomp and ceremony throughout the southern part of the country. In Maharashtra, the same festival is referred to as Gudi Padwa.
posted by hadjiboy (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
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, eatables such as "pulihora, bobbatlu" 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.

posted by hadjiboy at 1:45 AM on March 19, 2007

Religious zeal: boing.

Sex festival: awesome.

posted by zerolives at 3:04 AM on March 19, 2007

A clarification: While Ugadi roughly corresponds to the onset of Spring, the 'real' Spring Festival is actually Holi, the original Sanskrit/Telugu name for Holi being 'vastantOtsavam', which literally means just that, Spring Festival.

Rather, Ugadi / Gudi Padwa, is in fact, the Deccan New Year; after the aamavasya (new moon) today morning, the year has changed for the Andhra, Kannada and Marathi communities.

Back home in Andhra Pradesh, we tend to use the occassion to celebrate Telugu culture in general; kavi sammeLaNams (poetic gatherings), panchaanga SravaNams (ritualistic reading of the alamnac for the new luni-solar year) and such.

The real tradition, though, is all about the ugaadi pachchaDi (Wiki), that concoction of seven tastes that Andhra cuisine has. Life is not just sweet or spicy, but bittersweet.

zerolives: Technically, Ugadi is rather secular in origin, if you will, although I daresay it's mostly the Hindu community that celebrates it. One of those days when you tend to follow traditions religiously, but without the religiousity. No gods are affected by this festival, although it is traditional to visit a temple, for example.
posted by the cydonian at 4:45 AM on March 19, 2007

Thanks for your posts hadjiboy they give a bit of breadth to this largely americacentric website.
posted by adamvasco at 4:48 AM on March 19, 2007

Yeah, I love your posts about India hadjiboy. Happy New Year to you. Hope it's a great one.

Living mostly in North India and the Himalayas I only heard Spring referred to as Vasant or Baisakhi. Springtime in the Kulu Valley meant the hillsides were covered in clouds of pale pink apple blossoms on craggy trees. Literally miles of pink. Nicholas Roerich painted Krishna under a Kulu Valley apple tree.

In the foothills of the Himalayas this time of year, around Dehradun and Rajur, the kids eat kutcha am, unripe mango, usually stolen from the mango orchards, the slivers of fruit sprinkled with salt, tangy and salty, mmm. This is when the brainfever bird starts singing that strange, repetitive crescendo.
posted by nickyskye at 5:20 AM on March 19, 2007

Very much agree with adamvasco, I really enjoy these posts.
posted by Abiezer at 5:40 AM on March 19, 2007

Metafiler: No gods are affected by this festival.

But seriously... Thank you, hadjiboy! I am forever in love with the beautiful complexities of Indian culture.
posted by reality at 5:48 AM on March 19, 2007

Thanks and happy new year!
posted by furtive at 5:53 AM on March 19, 2007

not Rajur, *Rajpur
posted by nickyskye at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2007

Life is not just sweet or spicy, but bittersweet.

Totally. Thanks all! enjoy!
posted by amberglow at 11:43 AM on March 19, 2007

hadjiboy - i was going to take you to task for a lazy wiki link to maharashtra, but realised it was just a lure to get nickyskye into the thread to post some of her collection of gems. mmm....roerich...

but the imli on the samosa was the cydonian posting the secret of andhra cuisine! andhra food is my favourite of the entire subcontinent, but i've never been able to find out what *that* special flavour was.

now, to find some of this the ugaadi pachchaDi & lock myself in a kitchen for a month...
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:05 PM on March 19, 2007

nickyskye: Yes, 'vasant' (or Basant) is spring in most Indian languages. Hence 'Vastant - Utsavam', or with the liason-ed, compounded word goes, vastantootsavam.

Your friendly Sanskrit lesson for the day. :-)

The distinction, as I realize it now, is thus: in the north, the lunisolar year starts with a full-moon ('purNima') whereas in the Deccan, it starts with the new-moon (amaavasya).

Baisakhi, though, is a harvest festival that's reckoned by the solar calendar and, therefore, more or less always falls on April 13th or so.

To make it even more complex, ugaadi/ Gudi Padwa is one of the many new years that India celebrates; roughly, every linguistic grouping has its own calendar and its own new-year, so if your generic Indian friend comes back to you and says another day is his new year, don't be surprised. He's probably not from the Deccan. :-)

Indian calendars are fun, but they can get confusing as well. :-)
posted by the cydonian at 7:05 PM on March 19, 2007

UbuRovias: Two words: Aavakaaya (and its myriad types), and gonguura. :-)

Actually, Andhra cuisine is gonguura; Saakambari Devi's gift to mankind, it is the ultimate in tasting Andhra culture. Most of Andhra culture has been nationalized by the rest (the 'national' way of wearing a sari, for example, is Andhra in origin, most of Carnatic music is actually Telugu), but Gonguura is still identifiably Andhra.
posted by the cydonian at 7:17 PM on March 19, 2007

* makes obeisance to Saakambari Devi *
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:37 PM on March 19, 2007

I missed this one but:
the kids eat kutcha am, unripe mango, usually stolen from the mango orchards, the slivers of fruit sprinkled with salt, tangy and salty, mmm.
That was me! Still have bruises from the time I fell off this mango tree some many summers back. Mmmm indeed! :-D
posted by the cydonian at 12:25 AM on March 20, 2007

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