Yugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in moon’s orbit.. ‘Yugadi’ stands for ‘yuga’ meaning ‘era’ and ‘adi’ meaning ‘ the beginning or start’. Yugadi specifically refers to the start of the age we are living in i.e ‘Kali yuga’. According to the Hindu Scripture, Lord Brahma started a series of wonderful creations, including earth and all the life forms which live in it on this very day. It also marks the start of new astronomical cycle in motion.
Yugadi falls on ‘chaitra sudhha paadyami’ meaning the first day after the new moon day of the lunar month chaitra. It starts on the first new moon after the sun crosses the equator from South to North on spring equinox. The day also marks the beginning of spring season in South India. The onset of the season triggers with plants, shoots and leaves springing with fresh new life and hence it is believed that Yugadi sets life rolling for a new and fresh beginning.
The Tradition, Celebration and the Significance:
Yugadi is a a day when predictions are made for the new year. Traditionally, the ‘Panchanga sravanam’ – hearing of the Panchanga* is done at the temples.
[ *panchanga – ‘ pancha’ – five ‘ anga ‘ – attributes. Are the five attributes of the Hindu calender day namely
1. ‘Thithi or the lunar phase
2. Vaara or the day of the week it belongs
3. Nakshatra or the star constellation in which the moon is placed
4. Yoga – auspicious/ inauspicious period prevalent
5. Karana – half phase of thithi.
These five attributes are checked to know the good or bad periods in a day to perform any important task.]
Other than temples, Panchanga sravanam is also done as an important social function where an elderly and respected person refers to the new almanac and makes general prayers and blessings to all those who are present. It is believed that the benefits reaped by the reader and the listeners are equivalent to having a dip in the holy river Ganges.
As for the common people, entrances of households are decorated with fresh mango leaves. People start the day with compulsory oil bath followed by wearing new clothes and offering prayers to God. Prayers for health, wealth, prosperity and success in business are a part of this festival. Yugadi is considered the most auspicious time to start new ventures.
Well, as all Indian festivals go hand in hand with nature so does Yudagi. Yugadi is celebrated where it’s a season of raw mangoes spreading it’s aroma in the air and fully blossomed neem tree that gives a healthy air to breathe. All these add a renewed flavour to the typical dishes of
Yugadi is not complete without the traditional Yudagi Pachhadi-a unique dish which gives six different tastes . Yugadi Pachhadi is made with neem buds, jaggery, raw mango ,tamarind juice and salt. It signifies that life is a mixture of experiences from bitterness to sweetness, sadness to happiness, surprise, anger, fear and disgust. Life should be taken as it is , experiencing everything equally to have a smooth walk in our day today journey in this world.
Indeed Yugadi is a festival of many shades. It ushers in the New Year, brings a rich bounce of flora and fills the heart of people with joy and contentment.
Wishing you all a very Happy and Prosperous Yugadi.
Sources: As told by family elders, Religious magazines and of course by the tradition we follow at home and a little from web resources