Merry ugadi! (Photo: ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Happy Ugadi 2023! The first day of Chaitra Navratri has finally arrived.

The festival that takes place today (March 22) has a very important place in Hindu tradition – but what is it all about and how is it celebrated?

Here’s everything you need to know about Ugadi and its customs.

What is Ugadi?

Ugadi, also known as Yugadi, is a festival celebrating New Year’s Day for Hindus from the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in India.

The term Ugadi means “beginning of a new era” and the festival is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra.

It usually falls in the months of March or April – with 2023 falling on March 22. – with date change based on the date of the first new moon after the equinox in March.

Gudi

The Gudi (pictured) symbolizes a heavenly instrument against all negative feelings and to usher in prosperity, happiness and health (Photo: Getty)

How is Ugadi celebrated?

Preparations for the festival start a week early due to the amount of food and decorations. The apartments are also thoroughly cleaned. fresh mango leaves (Toranalu) walk around the front door for luck.

People also buy new clothes for the festival, paint the facades of their houses with colorful patterns and use coconuts for decoration.

On the day itself, families start with a shower and rub themselves with perfumed oil, after which they pray in their temple.

Many celebratory dishes are prepared, most notably Pachadi, a chutney dish with tamarind, raw mango and flowers that reflects sweet, sour, spicy and bitter flavors to represent the mixed experiences of the coming year.

Bobbattu, a kind of poli bread, is eaten in Telangana with ghee or coconut.

In Karnataka, a special dish called obbattu or holige is prepared in which sweet jaggery jam is put in a flat roti-like bread and dipped in milk.

Obattu dish for Ugadi

Obbattu was made especially for Ugadi (Image: YouTube)

Besides celebrating festivals, the revelers of Ugadi also give to the poor and exchange gifts.

Marathi Hindus celebrate Ugadi or Gudhi Padva with street parades, colorful floor decorations, dancing and flag waving.

Some Hindus celebrate New Year at a very different time than Ugadi. For those in and near Gujarat, New Year celebrations coincide with the five-day Diwali festival, and others see the New Year fall between Vaisakhi – which falls on April 14, 2023 according to the solar cycle portion of the Hindu lunar calendar.

The latter date is by far the most popular date not only among Hindus of the Indian subcontinent, but also among Buddhists and Hindus in many parts of Southeast Asia.

How to Wish Someone a Happy Ugadi

Merry Decorative Ugadi Greeting

The term Ugadi means “beginning of a new era” (Photo: Getty Images)

If you know someone who is partying, you can just wish them a happy Ugadi.

However, there are other sayings and well wishes to share during the holiday season, including the following:

  • Hope you enjoy this Ugadi with your improved health and increased wealth. May prosperity bloom in your family.
  • May this new year bring a pot full of happiness. I hope you and your family enjoy this party like never before.
  • I hope the lights of Ugadi fill your life with brightness and warmth. A very happy Ugadi to you.
  • A promise to encourage fun and peace is delivered with a smile and a spirit of humanity. I wish you and your family a happy Ugadi.