MONDAY, APRIL 4: Can you smell the sweet scent of juicy mangoes and fresh jasmine today? Several regions of India mark the (Y)ugadi New Year and welcome the essence of spring. Hindus in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Karnataka, in India, have been cleaning their homes for almost a week in preparation for today’s celebration; devotees will gather for poetry recitals, literary discussions and Brahmin priest New Year predictions throughout the day. (Wikipedia has details.) When passersby spot homes decorated with mango leaves, they may see women braiding fresh jasmine into their hair and cooking special New Year dishes. (TajOnline has more.)
Many believe that today marks the anniversary of the beginning of our current era—known as Kali Yuga. The faithful often eat Ugadi Pachadi, a special dish containing all tastes, which symbolizes their embrace of a New Year that encompasses all of life’s good and bad feelings. (Get the Indian perspective from the Deccan Herald.)
This year, Hindus jammed shopping malls and plazas in a last-minute Yugadi spree, as many preferred to watch the World Cricket Cup Finals on Saturday rather than shop for New Year clothes and foods. Game-watching crowds weren’t disappointed, though, when India brought home the World Cup at Wankhede Stadium for the first time in 28 years! Many predict this year’s Ugadi to be an especially joyous one, as Indian Hindus celebrate their Cricket Cup victory and mark a promising New Year. (The Washington Post has a slideshow of photos from the match.) Many American Hindus observe Yugadi, too.