Celebrated widely and with fervour across the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Ugadi marks new beginnings. The festival, pays an ode to the old and the traditional while welcoming a fresh chapter in our lives. Of course, like most festivals in India, Ugadi too is tied-up in its own set of rituals, customs, and colours. Let’s a take a look at some of the colours that are associated with Ugadi and their spiritual significance in our lives:
Yellow: Take a closer look at Ugadi and you’ll realise that the yellow is everywhere! For starters, Ugadi is always celebrated in summer when the glorious sun spreads its warmth. This is why, apart from marking the start of the New Year, Ugadi also heralds the harvest season. At the start of the celebrations, all the members of the household take an elaborate oil (also yellow) bath. They then to proceed to bath the Gods in oil and adorn them with turmeric (from which the yellow dye has been extracted for centuries). They also eat bella – jaggery – which signifies the sweetness of life. Apart from signifying happiness, yellow is also often associated with knowledge, learning, and enlightenment which is why you will see Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Krishna often drape themselves with this colour.
Green: Lord Kartik and, his brother, Lord Ganesha loved mangoes. Lord Karthik, the legend goes, took his love for the sweet fruit to another level and urged people to adorn the doorways of their houses with mango leaves to signify a good crop and, also, general well-being. This is why, on Ugadi, you’ll see streams of mango leaves lining the homes where celebrations are unfolding. In Hindu mythology and traditions, green usually symbolises life and happiness. But on Ugadi, it takes on a special and different meaning. Along with jaggery, people also eat bevu or green, neem leaves that acknowledges that life comes with sweetness and bitterness. And that we should accept both gracefully.
Red: No auspicious occasion in Hinduism is deemed complete without the presence of red. Be it weddings or the birth of a child, red dominates and represents purity. Even on the day of Ugadi, the kalasam (a small urn) that is crowned with a coconut and mango leaves before it is placed in front of the Gods, at the start of the puja, is marked with a bright-red swastika symbol. It is a sacred motif that represents good fortune and well being.
Saffron: For Hindus, saffron is the most the sacred hue of all. Sages and aesthetics have worn them since the days of the Vedas and Great Epics. The colour is represented at every auspicious occasion by the holy fire. The flames promise to burn away the past and the bad, leaving what is good and pure. During Ugadi, saffron comes alive in the flicker of fire that sits majestically on the aarti plate that is used to worship the Gods.
Blue: In the wee hours of the morning on Ugadi, the women patiently draw out intricate rangoli patterns in front of their homes. After they draw out the outlines, they fill in the designs with vibrant colours. Among the bright colours, blue always stands out. After all it is the colour that is most seen in Nature. The Creator, Hindus believe, has made the skies and the oceans blue for a purpose. It is the colour of bravery, determination, and also represents depth of character. This is why Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna – deities who embody these virtues – are depicted in blue.