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People gear up to usher in another year

Anil Kumar Sastry
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Nothing can stop the fervour of welcoming Ugadi festival

Riotous Colours:People do some last-minute shopping at K.R. Market in Bangalore on the eve of Ugadi.— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
Riotous Colours:People do some last-minute shopping at K.R. Market in Bangalore on the eve of Ugadi.— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Neither the summer sun nor the rising prices prevented people from gearing up to usher in the New Year, Nandana Samvatsara, which is set to begin from Thursday, the day of Chandramana Ugadi.

They came out in lakhs to do some last-minute shopping for the festival, which is celebrated as Ugadi in Karnataka and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra.

Ugadi falls on first day of Chaitra month in the Hindu calendar (Chaitra Shuddha Paadya). Besides the beginning of the Hindu New Year, the festival also marks the onset of Vasantha Masa (spring season) when the plants that have shed their leaves during the winter acquire new exuberance.

The preparations

People begin their preparations, buying groceries, vegetables, fruits, flowers and mango and neem leaves. They wake up early on the day of the festival and decorate the main door with the fresh mango and neem leaves. Colourful rangolis welcome visitors.

After this, the household assembles in the puja room to consume bevu-bella (neem leaves and jaggery), a must for the Ugadi, which symbolises the stoic acceptance of life's joys and sorrows in equal measure.

After an oil bath, it is time to wear new clothes and feast on a sumptuous lunch, which includes specialties such as obbattu and payasa .

Having witnessed prices spiralling during the last two-three years, people celebrating Ugadi this time around are not too scary about the prices.

“In fact, prices of groceries are moderate compared to previous years,” said Mamatha Sridhar, a homemaker in Hebbal. Her only concern is the steep rise in the prices of some vegetables, namely, beans, ladies finger, tomato and cabbage. Otherwise, prices of fruits is nothing unusual, she said. Besides, on every festival eve, it is quite common for prices of flowers to shoot up. Pushpa Mohan, a homemaker in Banashankari, said the family is happy to celebrate the festival with their son who has just arrived from the United States.

“I will prepare the traditional lunch, which includes kosumbari, obbattu and payasa that he likes, Ms. Pushpa Mohan says”

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