Today we are celebrating Ugadi, the Telugu New Year Day, which is the first festival of our Telugu calendar and the first big festival that comes after Sankranti.
Our Andhra festival is known by different names in different states of India like “Gudi Padwa” in Maharastra and “Ugadi” in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Whatever the name this festival takes in different regions, it heralds the dawn of Vasanth Rutu (Spring Season), which is considered the first season of the year (Chaitra Maasam). Ugadi to the Telugu speaking people marks a beginning of a new year in which nature is in full bloom, symbolizing regeneration and celebrating the season’s freshness.
But the most unique and significant tradition of Ugadi is beginning the new year with savoring a unique flavored pachadi (chutney) that epitomizes the spirit of Ugadi called “Ugadi Pachadi”,with sweet, sour, pungent and bitter tastes (shadhruchulu or six tastes). This chutney or sauce is a symbolic reminder of the myriad facets of life in a sense prepares us for the year ahead.
Ugadi Pachadi is a special preparation prepared in every Andhra home on Telugu New Year’s day. Its made with fresh tamarind, jaggery(panela), fresh mangoes and neem flowers (margosa). One can add sugarcane, coconut and bananas also. The sweetness of jaggery, the sourness of tamarind, the bitterness of neemflower and the pungent flavor of the green mango skin, spice of the chilli powder ,raw tender mango’s taste and lastly salt form the shadhruchulu or six tastes of the sauce.