*This was written by me on the day of Ugadhi, a few days ago on April 11th.
Andhariki Ugadhi Shubhakankshalu.
Today is Ugadhi, the start of the Telugu New Year. Coming from a Telugu family, we celebrate this festival with great pride. Unlike other Indian festivals which do more with poojas and lengthy rituals, most families celebrate this festival in a very simple way. Wearing new traditional clothes to celebrate the day, praying god for a prosperous and prospective year and eating some of the exclusive annual ugadhi pachadi.
Now, this ugadhi pachadi is the reason Ugadhi is one of my favorite festivals. Not only because of its delicious, exotic taste but because it contains a deep symbolism behind its existence.
So this dish is made of 6 ingredients, each symbolizing something…something that makes up life.
Ripe banana pieces, for its sweetness, signify happiness and glory.
Neem buds, for its bitterness, symbolize the grief and sadness one faces in life.
Green chili, just like we all know for having its spicy taste, signifies anger and wrath one feels at some point of time.
Salt, because of its apparent saltiness, signifies fear.
Tamarind juice symbolizes disgust and shame, considering its sour
Mango, which contains a whirling taste, signifies surprise.
So that’s the base of this ugadhi pacchadi and what it’s actually supposed to contain. But of course we tend to modify this original recipe, because who exactly in their right minds would eat green chili on purpose?
But that’s how our forefathers and ancestors meant it to stand by, and honestly, that very concept of life symbolized all in one dish is astonishing.
Ugadhi, a day dedicated to thanking god for where we are, asking him for his blessings and hoping he would grace us for the next year, is a day of realizing, offering and celebrating.
And of course, it gives you a chance to make a whole new list of new years resolutions.