Telugu community leaders extend Ugadi greetings

Dr Malini Yugendran
Auckland, March 22, 2023

Ugadi was celebrated with grandeur in many homes yesterday, the 22nd of March 2023. Ugadi is a festival of new beginnings and is celebrated with immense enthusiasm in many Indian states, especially Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka.

Wishes

SPB Charan, a well-known playback singer and son of the late legendary playback singer SP Balasubramaniam wished Indian Newslink readers, “Shobhakruth naama samvatsara subhaakaankshalu. I offer all Indian Newslink readers my warmest greetings and may this year be filled with happiness and prosperity.”

Jyothi Muddam, President of Telangana Jagurthi New Zealand said, “Wishing all our near and dear ones a very Happy and Prosperous Shobhakruth Nama Ugadi.”

Nagaraj Ambale of Datta Yoga Centre New Zealand said, “we were blessed with a granddaughter recently and Pujya Swamiji of Avadhoota Dattapeetham Mysuru, India, named her Valaji (name of a rare Carnatic musical tune) to continue our journey of music in our family. Likewise, may all the readers be blessed with a special ‘Shobhakruth’.”

Dr Reginald Samuel, President of Mana Andhra Telugu Association New Zealand and Federation of South Indian Associations New Zealand said, “our associations [Mana Andhra Telugu Association] started off the new year with Ugadi celebration on 19th March at Freemans Bay Community Centre, Auckland, which was attended by nearly 300 people. Let us begin this new year with new hope, optimism, excitement, and expectation. Let’s hope for plenty of happiness, fulfilment, serenity, and wealth. Happy Ugadi to all.”

Narender Reddy Patlola, the Honorary President of the Telangana Association of New Zealand, said, “I would like to take this opportunity to also wish those celebrating Ugadi a blessed new year. This year promises to be a favourable one for all.”

Suneel Kuncha, President of the New Zealand Telugu Association (NZTA) said, “wishing all Indian Newslink readers a joyous and prosperous Ugadi! May this auspicious occasion bring you new beginnings, renewed hope, and success in all your endeavours.”

History and Significance of Ugadi

“The word ‘Ugadi’ comes from two Sanskrit words – ‘Yug’ (era) and ‘Adi’ (new beginning), meaning the start of a new era,” explained Ms Muddam. She went on to describe the festival’s significance, “According to the Puranas, it was on this day that Lord Brahma created the universe. He then went on to create days, weeks, months, and years. So, Ugadi is believed to be the first day of the creation of the universe. Also, the legendary sage Narada once transformed into a woman and bore 60 children, and all died in a war, prompting Narada to pray to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu granted a boon that Narada’s children would live on, on the Hindu wheel of time with each of 60 years dedicated to each of his children.”

Mr Ambale said, “this year’s Ugadi is named ‘Shobhakruth.’ and it suggests that it will bring grace and dignity to individuals, organisations, communities, and the country as a whole. Ugadi is a time to celebrate and embrace new beginnings. After facing various global crises and pandemics, we are now entering a new era filled with vitality and courage in different aspects of life globally.”

The festival’s origins can be traced back to the Satavahana dynasty, which ruled parts of southern and central India from the 2nd century BCE to the 3rd century CE. The festival was initially called “Chaitra Shukla Pratipada” and was celebrated to mark the beginning of the spring season. Over time, the festival came to be known as Ugadi, and it gained more prominence during the Vijayanagara period.

Preparations

“The day begins with a ritualistic oil bath followed by prayers. Then people make rangolis at the entrance of their homes.  People prepare special dishes, such as Ugadi Pachadi, a mixture of six flavours representing the different aspects of life and is made by mixing neem flowers, chilli powder, tamarind, mango, jaggery, and salt,” said Ms Muddam.

The festival also involves listening to the recitation of Panchanga, which is a general forecast for the upcoming year. This ritual is called Panchanga Sravanam, during which an elderly and respected person reads predictions based on each person’s moon sign.

The festival also includes cultural events and the exchange of gifts among family members and relatives.

Ugadi Celebrations in Auckland

Mr Patlola announced that their organisation will be holding Ugadi celebrations on March 24th, 2023, at 6 pm at the Mount Eden Memorial Hall. He said, “this year’s celebration welcomes Shobhakruth with live performances, entertainment, and a traditional festive dinner.

Mr Kuncha announced that their association will celebrate Ugadi on April 1st at the Mahatma Gandhi Center on New North Road in Auckland. He said, “this year marks the 25th anniversary of the NZTA, making the celebration especially meaningful. I would also like to invite the wider community to join in the festivities and learn about our culture.”

In addition to their cultural celebrations, Mr Kuncha shared that NZTA played an active role in serving the wider community. They raised $3,800 through a food sale drive and donated the proceeds to the Hawkes Bay Mayoral fund. He emphasised that the NZTA is committed to serving the wider Kiwi community and will continue to do so in the future.

Dr Malini Yugendran is an Indian Newslink Reporter based in Auckland.

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