Saturday, 21 March 2015


Ugadi marks the first day of the New Year for people between The Vindhyas  River and The Kaveri River who follow the South Indian lunar calendar; that is Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa.
In 2013, when I was in India, that festival fell on 11th April. This year, 2015, Ugadi is celebrated today, 21st March.
As far as I know, Ugadi commemorates that Lord Brahma, the great creator of the universe, began creation on this very day. It also welcomes the spring season when nature seems to be immersed in the festive mood and new leaves and new buds feed the Ugadi spirit. I've read somewhere that Lord Vishnu avatars on this day, too.

People celebrate this festival with great zeal and fanfare. Gatherings of extended families and sumptuous feasts are "de rigueur".  Celebrations include thorough house cleaning, decorating entrances and buying new clothes for all the members. All these begin a day or two prior to the actual date.
They wake up early in the morning and the day starts with ritural showers (with sesame oil). After the baths, people start decorating their homes with colourful rangolis, drawn in front of their houses, followed by visits to temples to offer their prayers. Later on, people traditionally gather to listen to the recitation of the religious almanac of the new year and the general forecast for the year to come by an elderly and respected person in the family.
People prepare delicious dishes on this day, which they share with their loved ones. And that is what I did mainly when I was there: try every single delicacy they made! I read somewhere another inseparable ritual that has been followed for centuries is the preparation of a dish called Ugadi Pachhadi. This dish is a unique mixture of six different tastes, symbolizing the fact that life is a mixture of different experiences, which each individual should learn to respect and accept and move ahead unrelentingly. It is made from: neem buds (sadness for its bitter taste), jaggery (happiness for its sweetness), green chili (anger for its hotness), salt (fear for its saltiness), tamarind juice (disgust for its sourness) and unripened mango (surprise for its tanginess).
I don't think I tried that. What I did try, in dozens, was homemade puran polis.

Puran poli is a kind of extremely sweet flatbread. I can't tell you what it's made from, but, what I'm pretty sure about is that it has tons and tons of sugar or jaggery or any other awfully, exceedingly sugared stuff. To tell you the truth, I can't say I liked it, but, just to be polite, I ate, like 20 of them!

What I also ate on this day was vadas. Yummy vadas! Bhavith Kumar made sure his mum prepared some for me! They are a kind of savory deep-fried snack. It's a pitty I can't find the ingredients to cook them here, in Spain.

Any way, it is believed that any venture that is started on this day ends in success, so... why not think of some new resolutions for this other New Year?
And HAPPY UGADI to everyone!