Ugadi, the Telugu New Year witnesses the advent of spring, the most enjoyable of seasons. The rich green foliage and fresh flowers, the cooing of the cuckoo rent the air heralding the new year.

The Telugu calendar is divided into six seasons. The 12 months from Chaitram to Phalgunam at the rate of two months for each season denote Vasantha ruthu, Greeshma ruthu or summer, Varsha ruthu or rainy season, Sarad ruthu which covers Dasara and Deepavali festival, Hemantha ruthu or winter and Sisira ruthu which is autumn or fall.

As always for any festival, Ugadi also witnesses the cleaning of the interiors of the households, white washing, and all other preparations in the run up to an important festival. Relatives are invited and each household is a hub of activity. On Ugadi day, the inmates wake up early in the morning and take oil bath, wear new clothes and perform puja and offer Ugadi pachchadi, a special chutney prepared

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the occasion, along with other eatables. Ugadi pachchadi has ingredients such as neem flower, the season fresh jaggery, tamarid and raw mango together with a green chilly and some salt to taste.

Well begun is half done, they say and it is believed that if the New Year day goes on well, the trend would continue for the entire year.

Therefore, people ensure that Ugadi day is celebrated in grand style.

A very important aspect of Ugadi festival is Panchanga Sravaram where the almanac is read out to inform people what exactly is in store for the year for the world, the country, the state, the village and also the individual going by one's birth star. The panchangam is said to comprise the five—Thithi, Vaara, Nakshatra, Yoga and Karanm. Thithi would bring all good, Vaaram ensures longevity, Nakshatra will ward off sins, Yoga gives better health and Karanam would bring success, it is said.

New year greetings are exchanged on the occasion and cultural programmes like recital poetry and performing ashtavadhanams are conducted. Eminent men and elders are also felicitated on the occasion.

It is also a festival when village deities are worshipped. Kotha Amavasya which precedes the Ugadi day, is the occasion when Goddess Durga or Ammavaru is worshipped. Chaitramasam is said to be auspicious for worship of different gods.

Brahma is worshipped on Samvatsaraadi Padyami as He was said to have created the world on this day, Ugadi or beginning of a yugam. On the next day Vidiya or Dwiteeya, Siva and Parvathi, as also Agni or fire are worshipped during Suklapaksham or in the fortnight leading to full moon day.

Vasantha Navarathri festival also begins with Ugadi.

Sri Rama Navami, the ninth day from Ugadi, is the day Lord Rama was said to be born and discourses on Ramayana are organised at several temples during the period.

On Sri Rama Navami day, special pujas are performed for universal well-being and at Bhadracham which has the famous Sri Rama temple on the banks of river Godavari, the celestial wedding is witnessed by thousands of devotees when Sitarama Kalyanam and Sri Rama Pattabhishekam or Rama's coronation are performed.