The farther you go from your family and motherland, the more closer you get to their hearts and culture. The value of anything is felt as you go away from it. Festivals are the times when I miss my family and that makes me celebrate every festival ritually, trying to make my daughter aware of our tradition and culture.
What is Ugadi??
Today is Ugadi(Yugada Aadi) meaning beginning of the new era, the Hindu New Year. The festival marks the start of the spring, bidding goodbye to winter. The time when even trees bid their old leaves and bloom with fresh, new leaves and flowers. Thats the time of the year, when you hear the sounds of cuckoo and get mangoes, the king of all fruits.
|That is the festive decoration at home, a plate of Jaggery and Neem leaves in Pooja place and main door decorated with mango leaves and neem leaves,|
The Celebration!!!As kids, our day would start with the first glimpse of god as soon as we used to wake up, mom would remind us not to open our eyes on bed and she would take us to the pooja room with our eyes closed and we used to open our eyes in front of the god, getting his first glimpse of the year. We used to take bath with the water boiled with neem leaves(bitter leaves), visit the temple. We would have neem leave and jaggery, which remarks joy and sorrow in the life and praying to god, the coming year to be a balance of both. The house used to be decorated with mango leaves, neem leaves and flowers. The festive feast was mostly of mangoes, raw mango rice, mango pickle and the must have sweet dish obbattu(puranpoli) made of jaggery and flour. It was also believed that mango has to be had only after offering it to god on Ugadi. The whole day used to be spent at the temple. The rathotsav(the chariot ride of the god) and at night the ceremony would end with Varsha Bhavishya. Where a priest in the temple would predict the coming year. Profit-loss, joy-sorrow, health-sickness, activities-laziness, success-failure which used to be graded in numbers for the coming year. That was the most interesting part, which as kids we used to sit and listen so curiously, especially success-failure, which we believed directed effected our studies.
When we try to understand the reason behind all the rituals we Indians follow, we really get astonished. As per Ayurveda, everything in the Universe is a combination of Pancha mahabhuta(five basic elements, Earth, Sky, Fire, Water and Air). The combination of which are doshas, Kapha(which is heavy, cold and moist, combination of earth and water), Pitta(which is hot, moist and light, that is combination of Fire and water), Vata(which is light, dry and cold, combination of sky and air). Doshas, can be related to any life, where Kapha represents the beginning, Pitta represents the middle or persistance and Vata, the end or dissolution, the imbalance of which leads to health issues. The seasons too, can be related to the doshas. So Ugadi is the transition from Vata to Kapha, a bath with Neem water makes your body warmer which combats your bodies Vata dosha. And mangoes are used to balance all three doshas, so to start the year with good health. Also when I found today, everybody in my society plucking the mango and neem leaves from the trees to decorate their houses, I felt, was this ritual started with an intention to trim the tree to make it ready for the fresh new ones(I may be completely wrong with my assumption).
The Indian festivals celebrated with family and friends with rituals and tradition, rejuvenates your body, mind and soul and gives you the strength and motivation to go optimistic in life and makes you ready to face the challenges of life.
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