“Yugadi Habbada Shubhashayagalu” or " Hosa varshada shubhashayagaLu” is all you will hear if you visit a Kannadiga home today, people wishing you “A wonderful new year”. Yugadi or Ugadi is the first day of the Hindu calendar (actually, it is the first day of the first month- Chaitra).

Homes are decorated with fresh mango leaves and flowers. People place coconut leaves on the kalasa and place them beside the front door. The front porches are washed with cow dung water and adorned with bright rangoli, all of which are meant to chase away evil and bring in good to the home and the people within.

Celebrations begin in the morning with a visit to the temple, praying to the Sun god, greeting family and friends and a lavish lunch that includes Obattu or Holige. A sweet dish, it resembles stuffed roti made from maida with a filling of either gram daal and jaggery or coconut and jaggery and eaten with ghee or milk.

There is a tradition that says one should eat dishes that have a mixture of the all six tastes, called Ugadi Pachhadi. This symbolizes the various emotions we go through in life- happiness, anger, sadness, fear, surprise and disgust.

As one enters the home, they are presented with the “Bevu-Bella” , tender neem leaves mixed with jaggery. This is again in significance to our lives, where sorrow and joy come hand in hand, the neem signifying bitterness and jaggery the sweet joys. What a beautiful way of welcoming the New Year!

- Aarti Christeen