Accordingly, Ugadi is the New Year’s Day for the people of the Deccan province of India. The name Yugadi or Ugadi is obtained from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ādi (beginning): “the beginning of a new age”. It falls on a different day every year because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar. The Saka calendar starts with the month of Chaitra (March–April) and Ugadi marks the first day of the New Year. Chaitra is the first month in Panchanga which is the Indian calendar.
While the people of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh use the word Yugadi/Ugadi for this festival, the people of Maharashtra term the same festival, celebrated on the same day, Gudi Padwa (Marathi: गुढी- पाडवा). Marwari, people of Rajasthan celebrate the same day as their New Year day Thapna. Sindhis, people from Sindh, observe the same day as their New Year day Cheti Chand. Manipuris also mark their New Year (Sajibu nongma panba) on the same day.
The Kannada, Tulu, Marathi, Telugu and the Konkani diaspora in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala observe the festival with great fanfare; gatherings of the extended family and a beautiful feast are ‘de rigueur’. The day begins with ritual showers (oil bath) followed by prayers.
A vegetarian feast is served for the festival, and one of the dishes which is specially prepared on the day is Ugadi Pachadi. It is made using jaggery, tamarind, neem flowers, raw mango, salt and chilly powder – which each element signifying an emotion of life namely, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and spicy. The first meal is always served to the deity, which is later consumed as prasad by devotees.