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Chandramana Ugadi: Ode to new beginnings

Auspicious day

One of the much awaited and popular festivals of Karnataka, ‘Chandramana Ugadi’ falls today and what better occasion than this auspicious day to start something new.  Derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yugadi’ that means ‘starting of a new Yuga or new period’, Ugadi is celebrated in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and as ‘Gudi Padwa’ in Maharashtra. Legend has it that Brahma created the universe on this day and this day marks the beginning of the new Hindu lunar calendar.

“It is indeed a very special day for us as it was on this day that Lord Krishna entered Parandhama (Vaikunta) along with the Pandavas after the ‘Mahabharatha war’. It marks the end of ‘Dwaparayuga’ and the beginning of ‘Kalayuga’,” says Badrinarayana, head priest of Kalyani Raghavendra Mutt, Ashok Nagar.

Well stocked flower markets typical of the festive season
Crowded flower markets typical of the festive season

Genesis of the new

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Colorful fresh flowers strung together for worship and decoration

‘Ugadi’ is celebrated on the ‘Chaitra Suddha Padya’ date of the Hindu calendar which falls in the month of March or April. It is the first day after the new moon wherein there is a change in the moon’s orbit. The festival marks the advent of spring which is again symbolic of all things fresh and new. It is believed that Mother Nature wakes up from her slumber during spring and hence it is a common sight to see new sprouts, fresh leaves and lush greenery during this season. Also, ‘Ugadi’ is the beginning of the nine-day long spring festival of ‘Vasanta Navratri’, the last day of which is celebrated as ‘Rama Navmi’.

Like the spring season, ‘Ugadi’ too is associated with fresh starts, new inceptions and commencement of all things good. Preparations, therefore, start well in advance with houses being cleaned and washed to usher in good tidings. Annual spring cleaning is followed by shopping for fresh flowers, fruits, neem and mango leaves which are used for worship as well as hung at the entrance of the door to welcome the new year. It is customary to wear new clothes on this day making the occasion all the more exciting.

Neem and mango leaves that are customarily used on this day
Neem and mango leaves that are customarily used on this day
Varieties of raw mangoes available during this season
Varieties of raw mangoes available in the market

Inauguration of the new calendar or “Panchanga”

The Hindu calendar for the year is formally inaugurated and read on this day. The new ‘panchangas’ are available along with the ‘puja’ items and is part of the Ugadi ‘shopping list’. It is a practice for households to buy a copy of the calendar and worship it before actually using it.

A man selling the new calendar "Panchanga"
A man selling the new calendar “Panchanga”

“It is on this day that we see how the new year pans out including the auspicious days, festival dates and special days like solar and lunar eclipses,” says Badrinarayana Achar. In fact, it was a ritual during the days of the yore to listen to the chanting of the mantras and predictions for the year in temples and also the town centres. This was known as the ‘Panchangasravanam’ or listening to the yearly calendar. This is, however, a tradition that has faded over time.

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A happy time for flower vendors

Commencement of new ventures

The day of ‘Ugadi’ is considered highly apt to start anything new, whether it is buying a new vehicle, house or even starting a new business venture.
People wait and plan their new implementations on this day as it ensures future success and prosperity. “In the science of astrology we have something called the ‘Sade Theen (three and a half) Muhurtham’ which denotes the most auspicious days of the Hindu calendar.  These days are ‘Ugadi’, ‘Balipadyami’ (of ‘Deepavali’), ‘Akshayathritiya’ and the first half (half day) of ‘Vijaya Dashami’. Any task apart from marriage and thread ceremonies can be undertaken on this day to ensure success. These days are lucky and blessed,” added Badrinarayana Achar.

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Animated conversations over festival shopping

This article was originally published in Deccan herald. Click here to read the same.

16 thoughts on “Chandramana Ugadi: Ode to new beginnings

  1. Food and flowers are the colorful ingredients of this amazing festival in your home country. Thanks for the fine images and your report on the Ugadi festival!

  2. Wonderful post Rashmi, very informative! I love that you never leave out any details & it is such a pleasure reading your articles😊 The pictures are fantastic, especially the ones from the flower market! ❤

  3. Being at Bengaluru, Mysuru and Hubbali during the festivals like Ugadi, Dashera and Ganapthi Habba is one of the prized moments for any traveler…The state of Karnataka is full of colors and rich heritage…the unflinching principles of the people of Karnataka and their true love & affection for their cultural heritage and the “Kannada Matribhoomi” had made this land magical and lovable as compared to any other place in the Indian Peninsula

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