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Ugadi Pachadi-an intriguing dish of the six tastes that rule man's life

Apr 06, 2019

Ugadi Pachadi-an intriguing dish of the six tastes that rule man's life
Ugadi Pachadi-an intriguing dish of the six tastes that rule man's life

Ugadi is a festival of emotions. It is the day when people celebrate the philosophy of rising above the dualities such as happiness or sadness, cold or warmth, gain or loss etc. and accepting whatever that comes in man's journey of life. Celebrated with pomp and grandeur in the deccan zone, especially in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the festival marks the beginning of Chaitra, the first month of the Hindu Calendar. 

The word, Yugadi (or Ugadi) itself means the commencement of a new year where the element 'Yug' represents year and 'Adi' points to the beginning. The same festival is celebrated as Gudiparava in Maharashtra

Legends state that Brahma, the creator of the universe, built new elements of the earth on this day. As the nature wakes up for a fresh start, the auspicious day of Ugadi brings in happiness and a feeling of serenity in the lives of people

The way it is welcomed

People get prepared for the celebration almost a week ahead of the day and they take time to clean up the house and decorate it with mango leaves and colorful rangolis. The day of Ugadi starts early in the morning at 4.00 am, when elderly women chant mantra and fill the scene with positivity. The dawn ritual is followed by a traditional oil bath that symbolises mental and physical cleansing.

The best part of Ugadi celebration is the preparation of Ugadi Pachadi

It is a special mixture which consists of six tastes, sweetness, bitterness, sharpness, saltiness, sourness and astringent taste. The analogy of the multi-tasting Ugadi Pachadi marks the different emotions that make up man's life.

The main ingredient that goes in the special mixture is the seasonal unripe mango. It is during the time of Ugadi when the mango trees are teeming with the best unripe mangoes.

The pickle is simple and it is formed by mixing multiple ingredients with each one delivering a different taste. A generous amount of tamarind extract is taken and is stirred with the required amount of jaggery, salt, green chillies and neem buds. Grated raw mango is added to enhance the astringent flavour in the pickle. The entire solution is a semi-liquid and is served in small bowls. The dish has all the flavours that nature has offered man.

The main motive of consuming Ugadi Pachadi

The message behind the dish is to tell man that life is composed of all emotions and every phase of life, be it happiness or anguish, will soon pass. Prayers offered to God also remind that everything on earth would vanish and nothing is permanent other than man's connect with the Almighty.

The simple mixture conveys the deepest spiritual and philosophical ideas. Every taste that makes up the dish delivers an emotion that is associated with man's life.

  1. The jaggery or the unprocessed sugar contributes to sweetness. Sweetness reminds us about the feeling of joy and happiness that constitute man's life
  2. Neem flowers that go into the solution emphasize that bitterness is a part of life and man should tolerate the mild burden that God has levied upon him.
  3. Salty taste that makes up the pickle denotes the challenges that the Almighty expects man to overcome to attain the ultimate happiness of life.
  4. The hotness in green chillies represents the anger in man. Practicing anger is one of the essential lessons for man. The quality is sometimes required to unleash the potential that is hidden inside an individual. When man is struck with inability or insult, the anger within him would strengthen his determination and transform it into energy.
  5. The astringent nature of the green mangoes depict the surprises that awaits people
  6. The sour tamarind juice has speaks about the disgust that rules man during unexpected situations and reminds him of its presence.

On the whole, the pachadi or pickle that is prepared exclusively during Ugadi concludes that all the emotions are a part and parcel of man's life and should be embraced with readiness and faith in God.

The unique combination of the Pachadi and the rituals performed in this event is what that makes the celebration different from the other festivals. May this occasion of Ugadi bring in positivity and enlightenment in the lives of people.