There is certain positivity about spring that is difficult to pin down in words. After the long and difficult months of winter, spring ushers in a new ray of hope in all our lives. That is why, in the Indian context, there are a number of festivals celebrating the same.
Navroz is celebrated by the Parsis and the Zoroastrians. For the Bengalis, Naba Varsha is a very important part of their culture. The Asamese festival of Rongali Bihu is something that brings it in the global scene.
The Keralite festival of Vishu is something that cannot be ignored either. And speaking of festivals in the season of spring, none can ignore the electrifying festival of Baishakhi of Punjab, whose energy and zeal resonates across the country.
In the Southern states, the festival of Ugadi is sublime and it holds a very special place in the people's hearts and their culture. Although the means of celebration of this festival varies from one state to the other, the essence of Ugadi remains the same.
This festival not only ushers in a new year, but also brings in a surge of positivity all around.
Folklore in this southern state has it that it is on this day that Vishnu incarnated himself as the Matsya Avatara. The fact that this auspicious festival is celebrated in honour of Lord Brahma makes it all the way more special, since the divine blessings of two of the three fundamental Gods of Hinduism are ushered in on this particular day.
The specialty of this festival in Andhra Pradesh is the fact that the decoration of the house plays the central role here. As a result, the preparation for the same begins months in advance with the homes being whitewashed with a fresh coat of paint. The traditional spring-cleaning session holds a very special place in every household of Andhra and Telangana.
In Karnataka, it is on this day that Chaitra Navratri commences. This Chaitra Navami is a very important festival of the state, wherein nine days of enjoyment and bliss are celebrated in all excitement. The last day of this festivity is on the Ram Navami, or the birth tithi of Lord Rama.
Another important aspect of Ugadi in Karnataka is the ritualistic reading of the Panchanga, wherein predictions about the coming year are made. If this session takes place at home, it is usually conducted by the head of the family. On the other hand, if the reading takes place in the temple, it is conducted by the local priests. In either case, the person conducting the same is bestowed with gifts (which may either be in cash or in kind).
The festival of Ugadi is celebrated in Maharashtra in the form of Gudi Padwa. Legend has it that it is on this day, Brahma created the universe. It is also on this day that the era of truth, Satya Yug, began. Thus, this day signifies an auspicious beginning and a lot of rituals are associated with the same. One of the most important rituals here is the one wherein special coloured rangoli is made in the courtyard of every house on this day.
Women of the house wake up particularly early on this day to be able to do so. The coloured powder is believed to usher in luck and ward off all the negativity from our lives. For the same reason, brightly coloured flowers form as an essential part of the Gudi Padwa decorations in any household.
The celebration of Ugadi in Telangana is very similar to that of Andhra Pradesh. Here on the morning of Ugadi, people wake up early and have a ritualistic bath. Many people head to the nearby river for the same. Following this, the women of the house drape themselves in five yards of saree, while the men go for the traditional panche. Often, new clothes are worn on this day. For those who cannot afford the same, clean and ironed clothing is worn. It is then that people head together as a family to pay their respects to the local deity and begin the New Year on an auspicious note.