It is time for new beginnings. Many of us will be celebrating new year in the next few days.
For those in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh this is "Ugadi". The term “Ugadi” has its origin in the Sanskrit word “Yugadi”, that means ‘starting of a new Yuga or period’. This traditional festival is usually celebrated in the second half of March or in early April.
Ugadi is celebrated by decorating homes with fresh flowers and fresh mango leaves. Apart from the scrumptious food prepared at every festival the main dish prepared during the festival of is Bevu Bella, a paste made from jaggery, neem buds, tamarind juice and raw mango. All the ingredients are ground together to make a fine paste denoting every flavour of life.
The bitter, sweet and sour tastes remind us that life is a mixture of happy and sad events and we must remain ready to accept everything in life. During Ugadi festival, all members of the family taste this paste and reflect on life.
Cheti Chand is celebrated in honour of the birth of Sindhi Patron Saint Jhulelal and celebrated as New Year's Day for Sindhi community. Cheti Chand falls on the second day of the Chaitra month (known as Chet in Sindhi) and is very auspicious day for Sindhis. On this day, people worship water – the elixir of life.
Gudi padwa or the maharashtrian New year is ushered in with a gudi or a wooden stick is covered with a piece of bright red or yellow coloured cloth topped with a Kalash made of silver, copper or bronze is placed upside down on one end of it. A dash of vermillion (kumkum) and turmeric (haldi) are applied on the outer surface of the Kalash. This is then placed outside the door or the window so that everyone in the vicinity gets to see it. A garland made of sugar candy (saakhar gaathi) and neem leaves are hung along with the Gudi. This ritual signifies the bitter sweet experiences of life.
The family gets together to celebrate their New Year by consuming a preparation made of neem leaves, jaggery to symbolise the diverse aspects of life a lot like Ugadi. Shrikhand and Puran Poli are among the scrumptious eats prepared on this day.
No matter how you usher in your new year, these traditions add joy and excitement and some family time to our busy lives. They also are designed to stop and make us think and let us renew our spirit.
We wish you a very happy new beginning! May the new year bring you the ability to enjoy all the flavours of life that come your way!