Celebrating the beginning of a new year with the Telugu Community on this auspicious day of Ugadi, marking the start of April 9th, 2024.

We have heard a brief explanation about Ugadi from our peers, family, etc. But how many of us know the history of the Ugadi festival?

Let’s delve into the history and significance behind this auspicious day:

Referred to as the Telugu Panchang or Almanac, Ugadi is believed to be the day when Brahma, the Creator in the Hindu Trinity who formed the universe. It is celebrated on the first moon of the Chaitra month of the lunar calendar. Ugadi is the Telugu New year celebrated all over the world by Telugu and Kannada speaking people. It is also marked as the beginning of the vasantakalam or season, whereby it is the time where plants sprout new shoots, unripe mangoes hang from branches, neem flowers appear, and the farmers prepare their land for the next crops. The community’s calendar is on a 60- year rotation with a unique name for each year and the New Year in 2024 is called “Krodhi”. The wish can be simply stated as “Sri Krodhi Naama Ugadi Subhakankshalu”. The significance can be seen in its name since Yuga means “era”, and Aadi means “the beginning”.

Preparations for Ugadi start as early as one week prior, when homes are cleaned and decorated, and new clothes are purchased. Families also perform prayers for their goddess in a special ceremony called the Nokalamma Panduga (Goddess Nokalamma Festival) the night before, i.e on 8.4.2024. On the day of the festival, fresh mango leaves are strung up above doorways for prosperity in the New Year. The day is auspicious to start new ventures as well. Colourful muggu (rangoli), an intricate chalk pattern or design, is also drawn on the front porch. Celebrants usually wake up at the crack of dawn to take an oil bath specially prepared by the matriarch of the family. The oil contains a mixture of castor, coconut and mustard oil. After the bath, the family gets dressed in new traditional outfits, men in their kattu panchi (dhoti) and kandua (shawl) and women in their finery.

The entire family then gathers at the prayer room for the Ugadi prayers. Another part of the celebration is the cultural aspect where most indulge in the reading of literary works, poetic recitations, chanting of mantras and Vedas, singing bhajans and listening to classical songs. However, the most-awaited ritual for Ugadi is the Panchanga Sravanam, the religious almanac predictions for the year to come which are read at temples on the auspicious day. Like in all other festivals, prayers and feasts are an important aspect of celebrations and first on the menu is the Ugadi Pachadi. It is a mixture of ingredients that represent six tastes – neem (bitter), raw mango (tangy), tamarind juice (sour), green chilli/pepper (heat), jaggery (sweet) as well as a pinch of salt.

These six tastes known as “Satruchi” symbolises life as a blend of different experiences – sorrow, joy, anger, fear, disgust and surprise) – which should all be accepted in the journey of life. Other favourites include Teepu Garulu (a sweet vadai dipped in Jaggery), Burulu (a sweet made in a round shape with green peas or dhall dipped in flour and fried), Arusulu (a sweet dish flattened with the ingredients being rice flour, jaggery and sesame seeds) and Bobbatu (a sweet flatbread made primarily of flour and jaggery).

With that being said, a total of 30 branches of the Association nationwide will be having their celebrations beginning 9th April 2024 till mid of May 2024. Telugu Association of Malaysia Headquarters will also be hosting a National Level Ugadi Open House in the month of May/June 2024 after the completion of celebrations by the branches and also the completion of the fasting month and Hari Raya Festivities so that all can partake in our Ugadi Open House.

Astro Ulagam would like to wish all Telugu in the country and around the world: “Sri Sobhakruthu Naama Ugadi Subhakankshalu”.