Andhra Pradesh

Ushering in Ugadi by hurling cow dung

Peculiar tradition: A donkey being taken around the Chowdeswari temple as part of the Ugadi celebrations at Kalluru in Kurnool district on Wednesday.  

Festivals are replete with various traditions and rituals, but the unique ways they are celebrated in different regions make them more interesting. Ugadi, the the New Year as per the lunar calendar followed in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and neighbouring Karnataka, is no exception.

More than the pomp and gaiety, peculiar traditions hold sway during the celebrations in certain pockets of Kurnool district.

At Aspari, the southwestern end of the district bordering Karnataka, people celebrate Ugadi in a unique way. At Kairuppala village in the Aspari mandal, the people usher in the New Year with ‘Pidakala Samaram’ as part of which they fight by hurling cow dung cakes on each other.

On Wednesday evening, the entire village got divided into two camps and hurled the cow dung cakes at each other while the procession of Lord Veerabhadra Swamy was taken out in the village streets.

Beyond caste and religion

Folklore has it that Veerabhadra Swamy, a Lingayat, wanted to marry Kalika Devi, a Dalit woman, but a fight ensued and the issue was amicably settled by the village headmen and the marriage was solemnised.

The tradition, however, continues even now. The village elders sit perform the marriage of Veerabhadra Swamy and Kalika Devi, but not before the fight in which cow dung cakes are hurled.

According to police SI Giri Babu, around 100 people got injured in the ritual, but none from either side complained.

“All the villagers sat together to solemnise the marriage of the Lord. Lingayats, Reddys, and Muslims represented Veerbhadra Swamy while Yadava, Dalits, Kuruma communities represented Kalika Devi,” he said.

Donkeys, the harbingers of peace

Celebrations at Kalluru in Kurnool city had its own speciality. Every year, donkeys from across the city are made to go round the Chowdeswari temple in a 3-feet-deep slush created for the purpose.

On Wednesday, many people converged at the temple to witness this ritual. The animals made three rounds of the temple. Then they were are given a bath, decorated and worshiped. Belief has it that donkeys walking in the mud brings peace to the town.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 10:51:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/ushering-in-ugadi-by-hurling-cow-dung/article34321362.ece

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