Informant: RS

Ethnicity: Indian

Primary Language: English, Konkani

Age: 58

Text: [RS] Ugadi is the start of the new year for the Hindu lunar calendar. This year we celebrated on April 9th. There are legends that go along with it…we believe that Ugadi is when Rama came back after his victory over Ravana and became the king of Ayodhya. 

Context: This festival has been celebrated by Hindus, particularly South Indians, for hundreds of years, intertwined with the epic story of the Ramayana (as mentioned by the informant, the belief is that Ugadi marks the triumph of Rama over Ravana). The informant commemorates the festival with his family each year; the tradition has been passed down for generations. The informant also noted that he thinks of Ugadi as the start of spring. 

Analysis: Ugadi is an important cultural celebration that intertwines the agricultural cycle with Hindu mythology. The festival’s role in the agricultural cycle serves as a marker of the beginning of harvest time; following the festival of Holi, Ugadi usually sets the Hindu new year between the months of March and April, heralding the onset of spring. As with many other Hindu holidays, it celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and the new beginnings that follow. With springtime having connotations of growth and renewal, the festival’s date is especially significant to the start of the Hindu new year. Beyond its agricultural significance, Ugadi helps to create a collective cultural identity amongst South Indians, reinforcing a sense of community and a connection to the environment in light of the new season.