Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy Ugadi (New Years day for South Indians)

Wishing my Rangkatha family a very "Happy Ugadi" ( శ్రీ జయనమ సంవత్సర ఉగాది శుభాకాంక్షలు ) .

Yugadi (or Ugadi) festival marks the new year day for people who follow South Indian lunar calendar, pervasively adhered to in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa. Ugadi is celebrated with gatherings of the extended family , friends and a sumptuous feast.

Any Indian festival makes me alive as it takes me back home in terms of my memories. Coming from South India this was one of the auspicious festival I have celebrated growing up. There are so many memories of this festival that comes to my mind and too many favourites to list them. But one that is worth mentioning is the lingering aroma of newly harvested fresh green Mangoes. Month of Ugadi marks the beginning of Mango harvest season in India and usage of Mango leaves to Mangoes itself during this festival defines mood, color and decor of this festivity and celebration.

Definitely Ugadi is all about elaborate feast with various delicacies sharing them with family and friends. But day starts with eating a special mixture of six tastes (షడ్రుచులు), called Ugadi Pachadi (ఉగాది పచ్చడి) in Telugu and Bevu-Bella (ಬೇವು-ಬೆಲ್ಲ) in Kannada which symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of different experiences (sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise), which should be accepted together and scientifically this combination of mixture is supposed to flush away toxins out of your body.

The special mixture consists of:
Neem Buds/Flowers for its bitterness - signifying Sadness
Jaggery and ripe banana pieces for sweetness - signifying Happiness
Green Chilli/Pepper for its hot taste - signifying Anger
Salt for saltiness - signifying Fear
Tamarind Juice for its sourness - signifying Disgust
Unripened Mango for its tang - signifying Surprise

When I came to United States some 16 years back I had to struggle finding ingredients to make Ugadi Pachhadi. My mom would dry neem flowers and send it to me from India. For past few years I have found all the ingredients needed here in US for celebrating Ugadi, including Neem flowers to mango leaves. While I was getting ready to celebrate Ugadi this year, I had to go to around 5 Indian grocery stores to hunt for Mango leaves, not because they didn't carry, but because they ran out and this is definitely a wonderful problem to have, as this can only mean that there are so many more people in this area i live who are celebrating Ugadi this year and that feeling makes me feel at home.

I hope and wish that you all my dear readers who celebrated Ugadi this year had a wonderful Ugadi celebrations ..
Before i take off.. i would like to share some of my celebration snippets with you all..

Thank you all for being part of my celebrations this year...
Would love to see and hear about your celebrations...

Until I see you again.. Many many wishes on this new year.. may this new year brings to you all the happiness and health you can ask for.

@CopyRight: Images here are taken by me and are from my home and are subject to copyright. Please do drop me a note if you like to use them.

Happy Ugadi!