Ugadi signifies the start of the new year. It has a special place in the celebrations of rural Karnataka where farmers enjoy the festivities at the onset of spring season. Since spring is one of the most colorful of all the seasons, it also is a harbinger to the starting of agricultural activities.
First Festival In The Cycle Of Nature
Ugadi is the season when farmers come out of their time of relaxation and start preparing for the upcoming farming activities. It is considered as the first festival that indicates the beginning of nature’s annual cycle.
One of the most popular practices that are often linked with Ugadi in Karnataka is watching the young moon in the evening hours.
In Tumakuru and Chitradurga regions, people wait for the young moon to come up and watch it believing that the sides of the moon are linked to the harvest of the season. The direction of the moon decides whether the harvest will be good or not.
When the upper end of the moon is visible, they believe that the harvest will be good whereas when the lower end of the moon is visible they consider that the harvest will be average.
There is an altogether different tradition for Ugadi in Kanakapura. In this area, the people call the sides of the moon as horns and name each side as the golden horn and rice horn. The position of the horn decides which side will be costlier.
Village People Read Out Panchanga On Ugadi
In Karnataka on the day of Ugadi, panchanga or Hindu almanac is read out predicting about rain and crop in the presence of elders in the village. Many people also discuss and ask questions related to horoscopes on this occasion.
For the people in South Karnataka, it is a three-day festival. The first day is called musure habbba during which house cleaning is done.
On the second day of the festival, people distribute bevu-bella or neem and jaggery preparation, make traditional and special dishes and wear a new dress. This second day is called sihi aduge.
On the third day of Ugadi festival, the team of people in the village goes symbolically out on hunting and prepare non-vegetarian food. The third day is called hosataduku. Plowing of land is also considered important on Ugadi among the North Karnataka farmers.
The entire process is called gale hodeyuvudu. People also dip neem leaves in hot water and take an oil bath.
Gudi Padwa In Nippani Area
The Nippani area of Karnataka has the influence of Marathi people where Gudi Padwa festival or the new year of Marathi people is celebrated on Ugadi. On Gudi Padwa, Marathi people fix a wooden pole in front of their house, place a copper pot on its top and tie neem leaves, gathi and red or saffron decorated cloth to it.
A germination test is also an important thing associated with Ugadi. Just nine days ahead of this festival, the farmers take a bamboo basket and fill it up with cow dung and soil mixture. They sow nine varieties of grain in this basket. The entire setup is called jagara.
The jagara is well maintained and watered every day and brought to one place on Ugadi where the elder villagers examine each of the baskets. Depending on the quantity as well as the quality of sprouts they give an indication as to which grains are more suitable as a crop for the next season.
The Shettikere village in Tumakuru district has a unique tradition associated with Ugadi. On this day, during the evening people collect various grains grown in the surrounding region in a mud pot and keep it at one public place.
It is pushed by a cattle which is tied to the plow. The villagers consider that the grain that falls till the farthest distance will be the one to bring good fortune in that year as a crop.