Cheat Sheet Fact of Life: Sadness, Happiness, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Surprise are the flavors of Life.
We celebrated our new year, Ugadi (Ugādi) on March 21st. Ugadi is celebrated by people from the South Indian States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka. Ugadi means ‘beginning of a new age’. Just as the Chinese new year has an animal associated with it, we also have names for our new year. This year is named as ‘Manmadha’.
On Ugadi, we make a special drink called as ugadi pacchadi (chutney). In Telangana region, we make it as a drink. In a few other regions in South India, the pacchadi is made in the form of a paste. The drink in made in an earthen pot so that it is naturally chilled and refreshing.
The drink is a combination of six different ingredients signifying the different experiences of life. The base of the drink is tamarind mixed with jaggery. To the base we add neem flowers, chilli/pepper, salt and unripened mango.
The taste of the six ingredients sums up the experiences we have in life. Every experience in life teaches us something and makes it worth living, just as all the ingredients in right measure will result in a tasty drink.
- Neem flowers for its bitterness, signify sadness
- Jaggery is sweet and signifies happiness
- Pepper for it’s hot taste signifies anger
- Salt for saltiness, signifies fear
- Tamarind juice for its sourness signifies disgust
- Unripened tangy mango signifies surprise
Seasonal fruits such as banana, water melon and grapes can also be added to the drink, to make it a lip-smacking delicacy.
We also have a few superstitions around the festival.
1. The taste of the drink is a foreboding of how the new year will be. I had a sweet drink at my mother’s place and an almost sweet drink at my mother-in-law’s place. Hence my year should be sweet.
2. Whatever you do on Ugadi, you are entitled to that experience through out the year. We make sure we have good food in our tummies and a good rest and visit friends and family. I also did a lot of cooking. Hmmm…looks like a good sign for my husband.
3. We also look at the astrological predictions for the year based on our birth star. Well, mine says that my earnings will be 2X of my expenditures. So far so good.
Wishing everybody who celebrated Ugadi a great year ahead!