Ugadi, also known as Samvatsaradi, is the day of New Year for the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka in India. It is observed on the first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra. Ugadi or Telugu New Year falls on the first day of the bright half of the month of Chaitra. This festival usually falls in late March or early April of the Gregorian calendar. The Kannad people use the term Yugadi and the Telugu people use the term Ugadi for this festival. The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words 'yuga’ which means age and 'adi’ which means beginning. Thus the meaning of Ugadi is the beginning of a new age.
The celebration of Ugadi include drawing colorful patterns on the floor called Muggulu, mango leaf decorations on doors called Torana, buying and giving gifts such as new clothes, giving charity to the poor, oil massage followed by a special bath, preparing and sharing a special food called Pachadi, and visiting Hindu temples. The Pachadi is a notable festive food that combines all flavors - sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and piquant. In Telugu and Kannada Hindu traditions, it is a symbolic reminder that one must expect all flavors of experiences in the coming new year and make the most of them.
Ugadi has been an important and historic festival for the Hindus. There are many recorded medieval texts and inscriptions that depict major charitable donations to Hindu temples and community centers on this day. The same day is observed as a New Year by Hindus in many other parts of India, such as Puthandu in Tamil Nadu and Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra.
The Kannada, Kodava, Telugu, and the Tulu diaspora in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala celebrate the festival with great fanfare. The celebration of Ugadi is marked by religious zeal and social merriment. Gatherings of the family members and a sumptuous feast are the custom of this festival. Preparations for the Ugadi festival begin a week ahead. People thoroughly clean their houses. They buy new clothes and Dhoti as well as new items for the festival.
On the day of the Ugadi festival, the day begins early for the people with ritual showers, rubbing the body with perfumed oil, followed by prayers. People visit temples to offer prayers. Moreover, they also give charity to the poor and needy. Apart from this, they decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. Mango leaves and coconuts are considered auspicious in the Hindu tradition and they are used on Ugadi. People also clean the front of their house with water and cow dung paste, then draw colorful floral designs.
On Ugadi, special dishes are prepared in the house. In Karnataka, dishes like Olige, Vobattu, and mango pickles are made. In Andhra Pradesh, dishes such as Pulihora, Bobbatlu/ Bhakshalu/ Polelu/ Oligale, New Year Burelu, and Pachadi are made. Furthermore, dishes that are made with raw mango are famous on the occasion of Ugadi. Pachadi is the most notable dish that consists of a chutney-like dish. This dish combines ingredients to give all six flavors of food that include sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. This special festive dish is made from tamarind paste (sour), neem flowers (bitter), brown sugar or sweet jaggery (sweet), table salt (salt), green chili (pungent), and raw mango (astringent). This dish signifies that a person should expect all the complex phases of life in the new year.