Friday, March 27, 2009

Ugadi - Hosa varsha, Hosa harsha

“Yuga Yugadi kaledaroo, Yugadi marali barutide
Hosa varushake hosa harushava hosatu hosatu tarutide….”

On every Ugadi, we’d wake up to this same old song of Black ‘n white movie era. The same song would be played on both the radio stations – Akashavani and Vividha Bharati and the only TV channel, Doordarshan. And even now, when there are over a hundred television channels, almost every Kannada channel would play this song. The song translates close to this - “Year after year is passing by, and a fresh new year is beginning, bringing new joys, and everything new…”
Well, Ugadi is considered to be the beginning of a year according to Lunar calendar. It is the first day of the month ‘Chaitra’. It is when the trees have just started sprouting with fresh green leaves, after fall, the mango trees are full of fresh leaves, and flowers beginning to grow into fruits. Fresh Green everywhere is a small ounce of relief to the scorching summer heat.
Ugadi, or Yugadi, as it is called in Kannada, starts with the task of cleaning of the house from a couple of weeks before. It is rather weekends for working people like us! The entire house is cleaned, dusted, curtains, cushions washed, all utensils and boxes in kitchen washed and refilled, so on and so forth.

The previous evening, mango and neem leaves are tied to the main door frame – what we call ‘torana’. This gives the house a festive look. Yugadi starts with wishing each other a happy new year and then an elaborate oil bath – ‘abhyanjana’. Then starts the pooja and meanwhile preparation of sweets and naivedya in kitchen. The main highlight of this festival is ‘bevu-bella’ – neem and jaggery combination – which signifies the sweet and bitter situations of life, which we need to accept with the same spirit.

Then comes the much awaited panchanga shravana – reading out from the new lunar calendar about the astrological significance of the new year, predictions of all zodiac signs for the coming year, which we believe or not, would want to hear, and speculate!

Then begins the feast – the sumptuous lunch that is prepared, and served on plantain leaves. The menu mainly consists of Mavinakai (raw mango) chitranna, or puliyogare, Bele obbattu, obbattina saru, payasa, bajji/bonda, salads, and curries (Recipes will follow eventually). All these are served on plantain leaves in a certain order.
A short nap after a heavy lunch and then getting decked up with new clothes in the evening. And a visit to the nearby temple. Also, they say it is auspicious to watch the rising moon on Ugadi. Since it is the first day after new moon day, the moon appears as a growing arc. There are some places where inflation/deflationfor the year, whether cost of commodities rise or fall, are predicted based on the orientation of the moon! And thus begins a new year….
Wish you all a happy and prosperous Virodhi nama samvatsara.
Note: The scientific explanation to having neem on this day is this. Ugadi marks the onset of summer season, when lot of epidemic diseases outbreak. Neem, as it is a natural antibiotic, gives us resistance to these diseases to a certain extent. Since it is too biter to be had as is, it is mixed with jaggery.


  1. sumone's been real busy in the kitchen! :D
    And can't believe that my post on Ugadi is so strikingly similar to yours :O
    Lemme read all the recipes in here..the pictures look so tempting :-)

  2. I had the most boring lunch today..and now I can see yummy food served on Baleyele..Slurrrrp!
    Bele Kattinda madiro saru is so yummy..I just can't get enough of you are going to start from Shavige Payasaa?

  3. @ Hema
    Welcome here Hema.... Ya... you've been here so late... :|
    Well! we've had the same experiences, that the posts are so similar!

    @ Preeti
    Well, Preeti... Will post the specil stuff first! But it needed a lot more effort, so today i posted something that was ready.


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