Ugadi is the New Year’s Day for the people of Andhra Pradesh and also for the Telugu people all over the world. Those who live north of the Vindhya hills observe it as “Barhaspatyamana”. People living to the south of the Vindhya hills observe it as “Sauramana” or “Chandramana”.
A Unique Ritual
There is a peculiarity about the practices of the various sects of Brahmins; one who is not conversant with them finds it difficult to understand their meaning. Even though they are all Brahmins certain differences in their lineage may be traced among them. These become manifest in their distinctive calendars where the dates and months vary. Some have calculations according to the solar system, and others according to the lunar system; with the result that despite all being Brahmins the New Year differs among different sects. Thus there is a Telugu New Year’s Day, a Tamil New Year’s Day, and a New Year’s distinct from these in the almanac of North India.
According to Chandramana, Ugadi is celebrated on the bright fortnight (‘Shukla Paksha’) of the first month (‘Chaitra Masa’) in the first season of the year i.e. Spring (‘Vasanta-Ritu’). As all these important elements are present, this day has special significance marking the commencement of a New Year.
It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation on this day – “Chaitra Suddha Padhyami” or the Ugadi day. Also the calculations of the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya proclaim the Ugadi day as the beginning of the New Year, New month and New day. The onset of spring also marks a beginning of new life with plants acquiring new life, shoots and leaves. The vibrancy of life and verdant fields, meadows full of colourful blossoms signify growth, prosperity and well-being. With the coming of Ugadi, the naturally perfumed Jasmine’s spread a sweet fragrance, which is perhaps unmatched by any other in nature’s own creation. While large garlands of Jasmine are offered to Gods in homes and temples, Jasmine flowers woven in clusters adorn the braids of women.
Predictions Of The Year
Ugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon’s orbit. On this day, people chant mantras and the pundits make predictions for the coming year. Traditionally, the “Panchangasravanam” or listening to the yearly calendar was done at the temples or at the Town square but with the onset of modern technology, one can get to hear the priest-scholar on television sets right in one’s living room.
Preparing For The Occasion
Preparations for the festival begin a week ahead. Houses are given a thorough wash. Shopping for new clothes and buying other items that go with the requirements of the festival are done with a lot of excitement. Ugadi is celebrated with festive fervour in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While it is called Ugadi in Andhara and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is known as “Gudipadava”.On Ugadi day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a head bath after, which they decorate, the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. The green mango leaves tied to the doorway signify a good crop and general well being. It is noteworthy that one uses mango leaves and coconuts (as in a ‘Kalasam’, to initiate any puja) only on auspicious occasions to propitiate gods.People also splash fresh cow dung water on the ground in front of their house and draw colourful floral designs. This is a common sight in every household. People perform the ritualistic worship to God invoking his blessings before they start off with the New Year. They pray for their health, wealth and prosperity and success in business too. Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures.
It is a season for raw mangoes spreading its aroma in the air and the fully blossomed Neem tree that makes the air healthy. Also, jaggery made with fresh crop of sugarcane adds a renewed flavour to the typical dishes associated with Ugadi.”Ugadi Pachchadi” is one such dish that has become synonymous with Ugadi. It is made of new jaggery, raw mango pieces, Neem flowers and new tamarind. The inner significance of this preparation is to indicate that life is a mixture of good and bad, joy and sorrow and all of them have to be treated alike. All experiences have to be treated with equanimity. Every one should make a resolve that he will face calmly whatever happens in this year, accepting it with good grace and welcoming everything. Consider everything as for one’s own good. Men should rise above sorrow and happiness, success and failure. This is the primary message of the Ugadi festival.In Andhra Pradesh, eatables such as “Pulihora”, “Bobbatlu” and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. In Karnataka too, similar preparations are made but called “Puliogure” and “Holige”. The Maharashtrians make “Puran Poli” or sweet ‘Rotis’.
Kavi Sammelanam or poetry recitation is a typical Telugu Ugadi feature. Ugadi is also a time when people look forward to a literary feast in the form of Kavi Sammelanam. Many poets come up with new poems written on subjects ranging from Ugadi to politics to modern trends and lifestyles.
Ugadi Kavi Sammelanam is also a launch pad for new and budding poets. It is generally carried live on All India Radio, Hyderabad and the Doordarshan – Hyderabad, following “Panchangasravanam” (New year calendar) narrating the way the New Year would shape up in the lives of people and the state in general. ‘Kavis’ or poets of many hues – political, comic, satirical reformist, literary and melancholic make an appearance on the Ugadi stage.Ugadi is thus a festival of many shades. It ushers in the New Year, brings a rich bounce of flora and fills the hearts of people with joy and contentment.
May every day of the new year glow with good cheer & happiness for you and your family.
నేస్తాలందరికి నూతన సంవత్సర శుభాకాంక్షలు 2012.ఈ ఏడాది నాకు ఎంతో అపురూపం.ఎంతోమంది ఆత్మీయులని ఇచ్చింది. అందుకే ఈ ఏడాదికి కృతఙ్ఞతలు చెప్తూ..నూతన సంవత్సరానికి స్వాగతం పలుకుతున్నాను.
आप सभी के लिए नव वर्ष 2012 सफल एव मंगलमय हो! 🙂
Holi is the festival of color and joy. It is the day when the bright colors of Holi diminish all the discriminations of caste and creed in society. The colors of Holi also bring along with themselves the spirit of joy, naughtiness, passion and enthusiasm. The festival in itself is the celebrations of the divine love of Radha and Krishna as well as the commemoration of the fact that ‘Goodness always triumphs over evil’ and the verity that ‘Truth is always universal’. There is an eternal meaning of Holi beyond the ‘color play’ and ‘grand feasts’.
The Republic Day of India commemorates the date on which the Constitution of India came into force replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India on 26 January 1950.The date 26 January was chosen to honour the memory of the declaration of independence of 1930. It is one of the threenational holidays in India, and while the main parade, Republic Day Parade takes place at the Rajpath, in the national capital New Delhi, where the president views the parade, state capitals also have their state celebrations.
Although India obtained its independence on 15 August 1947, it did not yet have a permanent constitution; instead, its laws were based on the modified colonialGovernment of India Act 1935, and the country was a Dominion, with George VI as head of state and Earl Mountbatten as Governor General. On 28 August 1947, the Drafting Committee was appointed to draft a permanent constitution, with Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar as chairman. While India’s Independence Day celebrates its freedom from British Rule, the Republic Day celebrates the coming into force of its constitution.
A draft constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the Assembly on 4 November 1947. The Assembly met, in sessions open to public, for 166 days, spread over a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution. After many deliberations and some modifications, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. Two days later, the Constitution of India became the law of all the Indian lands. The Constitution of India was passed on 26 November 1949, 10.18 AM IST, but it came into effect completely only on 26th January, 1950. Following elections on 21 January 1950, Rajendra Prasad was elected as the president of India. The Indian National Congress and other parties had been celebrating 26 January as a symbol of Independence, even before India actually became independent. Thus, applying the constitution on 26 January, to mark and respect 26 January and the freedom struggle and the freedom fighters.
The amending mechanism was lauded even at the time of introduction by Ambedkar in the following words: “We can therefore safely say that the Indian federation will not suffer from the faults of rigidity or legalism. Its distinguished feature is that it is a flexible federation.
“The three mechanisms of the system derived by the Assembly, contrary to the predictions, have made the constitution flexible at the same time protected the rights of the states. They have worked better than the amending process in any other country where Federalism and the British Parliamentary system jointly formed the basis of the constitution”.
What Sir Anthony Eden, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (April 1955 to January 1957), said at the time of the emergence of Indian Republic is relevant in this context. He said, ‘Of all the experiments in government, which have been attempted since the beginning of time, I believe that the Indian venture into parliamentary government is the most exciting. A vast subcontinent is attempting to apply to its tens and thousands of millions a system of free democracy… It is a brave thing to try to do so. The Indian venture is not a pale imitation of our practice at home, but a magnified and multiplied reproduction on a scale we have never dreamt of. If it succeeds, its influence on Asia is incalculable for good. Whatever the outcome we must honour those who attempt it.
Even more meaningful was the opinion expressed by an American Constitutional authority, Granville Austin, who wrote that what the Indian Constituent Assembly began was “perhaps the greatest political venture since that originated in Philadelphia in 1787.”
Austin has also described the Indian Constitution as ‘first and foremost a social document.’ … “The majority of India’s constitutional provisions are either directly arrived at furthering the aim of social revolution or attempt to foster this revolution by establishing conditions necessary for its achievement.”
India is a secular nation and houses every community. Christians are a minority here and form nearly 2.3% of the population. But the fact that there are only about 25 million Christians in India, in no way lessens the observance of the festival. Moreover, the occassion is celebrated not only by Christians but by people of other religions as well.
The tradition of Christmas observance was introduced here with the colonisation of Europeans. Though the country gained its independence in 1947, many European customs and festivals stayed on. The fact that there is the presence of a Christian community in India, helped the maintaining of these traditions in no less a way. Today, Christmas is the biggest and most-loved festival of Indian Christians. The festival is also enthusiastically celebrated by people of other religions residing here.
Like in many other countries, Christmas is observed in India on 25th December. Everyone gears up for the festival from nearly a week before. Business stores are decked up for the occassion with every gift shop packed with Christmas trees, presents, ornaments and other items of decoration that are bought by millions of enthusiastic celebrants of the festival.
For Indian Christians, especially the Catholics, the Midnight mass on Christmas Eve is a very important service and holds great religious significance. Every year, on the night of 24th December, all members in Christian families visit their local churches to attend the Midnight mass. On this night, churches in India are decorated with Poinsettia flowers and candles. The mass over, everyone relishes a mouthwatering feast of various delicacies, mostly consisting of curries. Thereupon, presents are given to one another and “Merry Christmas” is wished. India being a multicultural nation, many different languages are spoken here. In Hindi and Urdu, Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Bade Din ki Mubarak’; in Sanskrit it is ‘Krismasasya shubhkaamnaa’; in Bengali ‘Barodiner shubhechha janai’; and in Tamil it’s ‘Christhu Jayanthi Nalvaalthukal’.
Nativity plays are staged in many schools(mainly the Christian ones) and churches on Christmas morning. The perfomances by young children depict the birth, life and actions of Jesus Christ and usually end with the singing of hymns and carols and the visit of a person dressed as Santa to distribute candies/toffees to kids. In the metros a smiling Santa Claus, entertaining children at departmental stores with toys and gifts, is not an uncommon sight. Caroling processions on streets and thoroughfares can also be seen on 24th night.
A sizeable population of the Christian Community reside in Mumbai of the Indian state of Maharashtra and are mainly Roman Catholics. It is a delight to watch their homes during Christmas. Every Christian home creates a nativity scene, often display a manger in the front window. Giant star-shaped paper lanterns are hung between the houses so that the stars float above you as you walk down the road. There is a provision of sweets, mainly home-made, in every household to welcome visitors during the occassion. In Southern states, Christians often light small clay oil lamps and place these on the flat roofs of their homes to show that Jesus is the light of the world. In the North-western states of India, the tribal Christians of the Bhil folk take out caroling processions during the whole Christmas week and often visit neighbouring villages to tell the Christmas story to people through songs.
In India, Father Christmas or Santa Claus is held to be the giver of presents to children from a horse and cart. As in the U.S., he is believed to deliver presents at the house of every kid who behaves well during the whole year. Santa Claus is known as ‘Christmas Baba’ in Hindi and ‘Christmas Thaathaa’ in Tamil.