Ugadi is the first day of a new Hindu lunar calendar. It is believed that Lord Brahma started the Creation of the Universe on this day, the first day of the month of Chaitra. It is spring time, time of new beginnings, fresh life, new hope and gladness in our hearts. Who can say it better than Robert Browning in “Pippa’s Song”?
The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven
The hill-side’s dew-pearl’d;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven—
All’s right with the world!
People wash and clean their houses for Ugadi, decorate them with mango leaf streamers and “muggu” which are geometric patterns drawn on stoeps (Dutch spelling) with rice flour paste. They wear new clothes and visit temples for the “panchangasravanam” or the reading of the annual calendar. They make Ugadi pachchadi, a concoction that consists of six flavors (sweet, salty, sour, spicy, tangy and bitter) symbolizing the ups and downs of life.
The lunar calendar follows a sixty year cycle, divided into three groups of twenty each. The first twenty are attributed to Brahma (srishti or creation), the next twenty to Vishnu (sthiti or continuation) and the last twenty to Shiva (laya or dissolution). We are now in the 24th year of this cycle and are moving from Virodhi to Vikruti samvatsara.
May we all have a happy new year.