Ramesh Susarla

VIJAYAWADA: White flowers of Neem, sour green raw mangoes, bright yellow looking jaggery, sugarcane stems, and new tamarind signify the arrival of Telugu New Year (Ugadi) and rituals begin on the day after Amavasya as per Telugu Calendar.

This year as the Nandana Nama Samasram (Year) arrives, men, women, old and the young would have got up from slumber and taken head bath and be ready to savour a mix of all the tastes of those new arrivals of agricultural/horticulture produce.

Symbolically telling everyone in the family that the year ahead may not be just sweet, but a mix of all kinds of tastes, tasting the much-awaited Ugadi patchadi literally kick-starts the celebrations in all households.

Yugadi or the Ugadi, is the commencement of Telugu New Year, a day specially celebrated with huge fun and fervor all over Andhra Pradesh and similar-looking festivals in all the surrounding states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Manipur and among Sindhis. Lord Brahma, the creator of the world began His creation on this day goes the belief. The first day of Lunar Month's bright half is considered to be the Ugadi day, which generally coincides with the English months of March or April.

The festival also welcomes the spring season when nature seem to be wearing a new look with new leaves and new buds along with fresh breeze of wind manifold the Ugadi spirit.

It is also a belief among Hindus that Lord Vishnu incarnated in Matsya avatar on this day.

As one of the major festivals of Andhra Pradesh, it gathers huge public attention and celebration with purchase of new clothes and sweets.

Ugadi celebrations include cleaning of house and surrounding, decorating entrances with green mango leaves, buying new clothes for family and various other rituals. Sesame oil is used to massage head and body, post which they take head wash and visit temples to offer their prayers.

People make delicious dishes on this day sharing with neighbours and family members. Some people celebrate the festival for three days.