Yugadi (Ugādi, Samvatsarādi) is the New Year’s Day for the Hindus of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana state in India. It is festively observed in these regions on the first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra. This typically falls in March or April of the Gregorian calendar.
The festival is celebrated with high spirits, new clothes and abundance of some mouth-watering traditional cuisines. It is also the first day when there is a change in pattern of moon’s orbit. Yugadi is celebrated a day after the first new moon and after the sun passes the celestial equator on the spring equinox.
As with all the mythology-wrapped-traditions in India, Yugadi too has quite a lot of scientific, ecological and historical significance. Let’s understand few of them.
Welcome for Spring Season
Yugadi is the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, which falls in April or March. Chaitra is the first month in the Hindu calendar and Yugadi marks the beginning of the New Year. Because the festival is celebrated on Shukla Paksha of ‘Chaitra Masam’ which is the first season spring (Vasanta ruthuvu), the festival is a welcome ritual for the nature’s youthful state at which time trees, animals, birds and insects take a grand head-start of life. From this day onward trees and plants start shedding their leaves and the new growth begins. In other words, Yugadi symbolizes the new life.
Beginning of a New Era
A Sanskrit-derived word Yugadi has two syllables — Yug meaning era and Adi meaning the beginning. Hence the word Yugadi literally translates into the beginning of a new era. Astronomically, it is the last day of waning of Moon and the first day of waxing of moon which signifies the beginning of new time.
According to the great Indian mathematician Bhaskaracharya, the Sun rise on the day of Yugadi is the beginning of New Year, because the Earth exactly completes its one revolution around the sun.
Sun’s Perpendicular Energy On Northern Hemisphere
On Yugadi’s day the Earth’s axis is tilted to such an angle so as to receive the maximum solar radiation in the Northern hemisphere. Interestingly, the south Indian region is illuminated with equator-level intensity of Sun’s energy.
Image credit: thecosmoconscious.blogspot.in
Since Northern hemisphere receives the highest energies from Sun, it’s a little bit inconvenient for a human to adapt high temperature. And hence the ritual of oil bath during Yugadi day. The use a cooling agent like castor oil while taking bath is nothing mythical but a preparation for the hottest period in this year.
Bevu-Bella or Yugadi Pachadi
Bevu Bella (in Karnataka) or Yugadi Pachadi (in Andhra Pradesh) is a special recipe that is eaten on the eve of Yugadi. It is a paste made of jaggery, neem, raw mango, pepper, salt and tamarind juice. The six different ingredients signify the six varied flavors of life like sadness, happiness, anger, surprise, bitterness and fear. It is eaten on the day of Yugadi to remind ourselves that life is a mix of all these emotions and we should learn to accept it.
- The popular legend associated with the festival is that the Lord Brahma started creation of the vast universe on the auspicious day of Yugadi or Chaitra suddha padhyami. Lord Brahma created the days, weeks, months and years in order to count time and then created all other elements present in the universe.
- According to Hindu epoch life cycle, we have four Yugas — Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga into a Kali Yuga. Our present time is a Kali Yuga, which started at 3102 BCE with the end of the Mahabharata war. As told by the sage Vedavyasa , the Kaliyuga (4,32,000 years) has started when Lord Krishna has left this world. So the marking of Kaliyuga day is remebered as Yugadi.
- Lord Subramanya and Ganesha like mangoes so people tie mango leaves as Toranam at the entrance of house to signify that as a symbol to earn good crop and well-being. And again there is a scientific reason behind it because the fresh leaves in the front of home allows the fresh air to come inside the home and it creates a sense of calmness.
- This day too celebrates the defeat of Ravana in the hands of Lord Rama and his eventual happy return to Ayodhya.
We’ve just scratched the surface. There are many more scientific and astrological facts associated with Yugadi. If you have one, let me know in the comment section below. By the way, Happy Yugadi 🙂