Shobhakrut expected to bring prosperity
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Tulasi Putcha
Tomorrow, people in many parts of the country will be celebrating the onset of a new year — known by different names and marked by unique local customs of their own. The festival is celebrated on the day after the first new moon that follows the March equinox, which is also called astronomical spring — when the duration of day and night is approximately equal.
While the people speaking Telugu and Kannada celebrate this festival as Ugadi or Yugadi, Marathis call it Gudi Padwa, and Sindhis Cheti Chand.
According to the Vedic scriptures, Hindus believe that Lord Brahma began creating the universe on Ugadi.
Telugus and Kannadigas follow a cycle of 60 years, which are known with different names beginning from Prabhava to Akshaya. This Ugadi begins the new year which is named Shobhakrut (harbinger of prosperity). Due to this 60-year cycle, people celebrate their 60th year of a person with great pomp as ‘shashti poorti’ (completion of 60 years).
It is also the first day of the month of Chaitra — the first month of the Indian lunar calendar. Since there are no Covid-related restrictions after three long and difficult years, people are ready to celebrate it in an elaborate manner.
The main festivities for Ugadi among Telugu speaking people typically include taking a head bath after applying oil to both hair and body, and later consuming the ‘Ugadi Pacchadi’ offering prayers to God. The Pacchadi is made from sliced banana, mango, sugarcane, apart from jaggery, tamarind juice and neem flowers. It tastes sweet, bitter and sour too indicating that life is a mix of different experiences.
Just like any other festival, Ugadi is also celebrated by cooking and sharing special dishes with neighbours. Though in the olden days, the festival was celebrated privately at one’s home, of late, it has become a community celebration marked by several events.
The state government — in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh — officially celebrates Ugadi by arranging Panchanga Sravanam, where Vedic pandits forecast the events in the year, going by astrological calculations.
Every day has five ‘angas’ – thithi, vaara, nakshatra, yoga and karanam – which is referred to as ‘Panchangam’. Predictions about the future of an individual, country or any entity are made based on the nakshatras (stars).
A few of the pandits, possessing unparalleled memory and literary knowledge, exhibit their skills through the ‘Avadhana Prakriya’ during which they solve literary puzzles given by the audience and their colleagues. ‘Kavi sammelan’ is also arranged marking the occasion when poets recite poems about how life could be a mixed bag in the coming year.