In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Ugadi or Yugadi falling on 13th April marks the first day of the Hindu new year which comes after Sankranthi. It heralds the dawn of Vasanth season.
To usher in the new beginning, people engage in Rangoli decoration, mango-leaf toran; catch up with friends and family, exchange gifts, and prepare special dishes.Food is an extremely integral part of the occasion. And the Ugadi pachadi prepared as an indispensable part of this festival plays a significant role in Ugadi celebrations. The Ugadi special meal in South India comprises this savoury item in the menu on this day.
Significance of the medley of flavours in the dish:
Ugadi-special pachadi (or chutney) brings together a fine blend of all the 6 (shadruchulu) flavours that our taste palate desires for; ranging from sweet, sour, salty, bitter, to astringent and piquant.
This dish is almost the elixir of life which practically serves as the highlight of the Ugadi festival celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm.Ugadi Pachadi is a symbolic reminder to one and all to be prepared to experience all types of flavours that life has to offer throughout the year.
Ugadi pachadi is also offered as naivedyam to God on this day.
It’s made with fresh tamarind, jaggery (panela), fresh mangoes and neem flowers (margosa), salt, chilli powder. Sugarcane, coconut and bananas can be added as well.
Each of the ingredients embodies life’s varied experiences: The sweetness of jaggery signifies the beautiful, joyous, happy moments in our lives. The sourness of tamarind in Pachadi reiterates the experience of sour incidents in life which would be enriching ultimately in the long run.
The bitter taste of the Pachadi comes from the neem flowers whose bitterness is a humble foretelling of the not-so-happy moments in life that one will encounter.
The tangy, pungent flavor of the green mango is added to bring in the element of surprise in our lives.
The spicy, hot taste titillating our taste buds is a reminder of the ‘anger’. The moments of wrath is also the truth of life that one must be mindful of.
The salt is the reminder to never step away from relishing the not-so-sweet moments of life. As those experiences are worthwhile too, and make life interesting. Also, one must take things with a pinch of salt.
It is the harmonious culmination of all these myriad tastes of experiences in life that will enrich us, so it is best to be mindful and prepared for it. Welcome every phase, every flavour of life with open arms.