Archive | March, 2009

Ugadi heralding the New Year

27 Mar

How and why is Ugadi celebrated?

Ugadi is celebrated as the new year of the people of southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Yuga and Adi when put together sound as Yugadi. ‘Yuga” is a timespan, in this context it means an year. “Adi’ means beginning. So, the name Ugadi, refers to the beginning of new year and is so celebrated by these people.

          The celebration of Ugadi mainly includes doing puja,  preparation of naivedya (offering to god), preparation and having of Ugadi paccadi (Chutney), and panchanga (alamnac) reading.. People celebrating Ugadi buy new clothes for the festival, take oil bath, eat Ugadi paccadi and do panchanga reading..

Ugadi paccadi is prepared specifically on this day and each of us needs to have it as part of the ritual. There is an understanding behind the recipe of Ugadi paccadi. The Ugadi Paccadi is consumed  on an empty stomach. The i Paccadi is special in its composition of  six diverse  tastes, comprising mandatorily jaggery, flowers of neem,raw  mango. A popular  belief is that the diverse tastes enable us to face different obstacles in the year.

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Festival Holi

9 Mar

Holi is celebrated as  the festival of colors in India and by Indians. Every year Holi is celebrated on the full moon day of Spring season. The story behind the Holi festival goes this way.

               There was demon king Hiranyakashyapa. He had ordered everyone in his kingdom to worship him as the Lord, harrassing everyone who did not follow the diktat. Unfortunately he could not convince his own son Prahalada to  worship him, Instead Prahalada was an ardent devotee Lord Vishnu and used to constantly chant the name of  Lord Vishnu aka Narayana. He tried numerous ways to convince his son but all attempts were invain, and so Hiranyakashyapa tried multiple times to kill his son.

In one of Hiranyakashyapa’s attempts to kill his son Prahalada, Hiranyakashyapa asked his  demoness  sister Holika to carry Prahalada in her lap and jump into a sacrificial fire. Holika had a boon that she would not be harmed even when she passed through fire. Hiranyakashyapa wanted to take this as an advantage to kill Prahalad.    On Hiranyakashyapa’s request, Holika took Prahalada in her lap and went into fire. Holika did not realize that the boon was true only when she went into fire alone. This time Prahalad was in her lap and so she was killed. Prahalda was saved by the blessing of Lord Vishnu as Prahalad was chanting the name of Vishnu even when he passed through fire. Holi is celebrated on this day when demoness   Holika was burnt in fire.

Thus Holi is a celebration of deep devotion of the Lord by Prahlada, and triumph over the evil Holika.