Ougadi – April
Ugadi or Ougadi is celebrated mostly by the ‘Telegus’ community in Mauritius or people originated from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra It marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon’s orbit. It is a day when mantras are chanted and predictions made for the New Year. Traditionally, the ‘panchangasravanam’ or listening to the yearly calendar was done at the temples or at the Town square but with the onset of modern technology; one can get to hear the priest-scholar on television sets right in one’s living room.
The preparations for the festival begin a week before. Houses are given a thorough wash. Shopping for new clothes and buying other items that go with the requirements of the festival are done with a lot of excitement. Ugadi is celebrated with festive fervour in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While it is called Ugadi in A.P. and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is known as “Gudipadava”. On Ugadi day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a head bath after which they decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves.
It is noteworthy that the use of mango leaves and coconuts on that auspicious occasion is to propitiate their gods. The Telegus also splash fresh cow dung water on the ground in front of their house and draw colourful floral designs. This is a common sight in every household. People perform the ritualistic worship to God invoking his blessings before they start off with the New Year. They pray for their health, wealth and prosperity and success in business too. Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures.