Ugadi – The Festival
Ugadi will be celebrated on 8th April. It is celebrated in the states of Karnataka and Andhra with much festivity. Having lived in Maharashtra earlier, I had seen how Gudi Padwa as it is known in Maharashtra is celebrated with much joy and fervour. My mother-in-law is a Maharashtrian from Mysore. Being married into the family, I was initiated into the Ugadi celebration done in the South which was quite a lot of fun to watch and enjoy.
Ugadi comes from the word Yugadi which means starting of a new period. Ugadi marks the beginning of the New Year by Hindu lunar calendar. It also symbolizes the onset of spring. It is also considered to be the day when Brahma created the Universe.
Preparations for Ugadi
In Bangalore, the preparations for the festival begin a week in advance. The houses are well cleaned paying special attention to every nook and corner. After a thorough wash down, the womenfolk begin with making the delicacies for this festival. It is a nice time to initiate your children into the fun aspects of the festival.
My mother-in-law’s family celebrates it the traditional way. Women dress up in lovely, vibrant silks and the pooja room is well decorated with garlands handmade with fresh flowers. The main door is decorated with mango leaves. The children are especially excited to partake in all the festivity. Since one of the cornerstones of this festival is cleanliness, the house is given a good makeover. Every nook and cranny is dusted and cleaned. And the special lunch for this festival is a much awaited delicacy.
My family eagerly awaits for this festival lunch, hence cleanliness of the kitchen becomes all the more important. Specially avoiding contamination of food from pests like cockroaches that crawl through the drain carrying disease causing bacteria. Though cockroaches frequently visit our kitchen, it becomse all the more rampant during festival and post festival due to the elaborate festive meals that we prepare. Hence during the festive cleaning I use Godrej LAL HIT, which has special deep reach nozzle which helps us reach the nooks and corners where cockroaches hide (eg: kitchen sink outlet, under the fridge etc. which are often difficult to reach). So for a week before the start of festival I use Godrej LAL HIT every day after cleaning my kitchen in the night. I follow a similar routine after the festival as well, as leftover sweets tend to attract these pests. This routine assures me that there is no food contamination by pests in my home, thus no food poisoning. #SayNoToFoodPoisoning.
Obattu (a roti with a sweet lentil stuffing) and yummy dal vadas are made along with lemon rice, a special rasam, rice, raita, drumstick sambar and a dry vegetable. The meal is rounded off with a sweet payasam.
The speciality of Ugadi is a dry mix called bevu bella which is made with neem leaves, jaggery, salt, sugar, tamarind and chopped raw mango. This mixture signifies the heralding of spring and also emphasizes to the partaker that the sweet, sour, salty and bitter exist side by side in life. And to accept each with gratitude as a symbol of life and its continuity.
What a great message through food! Though children make a face while consuming this, it is good to share the wisdom of this with them through this offering.
Beautiful rangolis are made by women and everyone spends a joyous day gorging on yummy delicacies. A lovely festival and a beautiful start to a New Year.
Do you celebrate Ugadi? Do share your experience in the comments.