Ugadi marks the beginning of the New Year in Telugu calendar. Ugadi is also known as Telugu New Year and it is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month. In most Hindu calendars, which are based on lunisolar calendars, it is very significant day and also observed as Vikram Samvat and Bhartiya Nava Varsha. The new year celebrations with the name of Ugadi is mostly famous in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In Maharashtra and Karnataka the same day is observed as Gudi Padwa and Yugadi respectively.
Ugadi is also popularly known as Samvatsaradi and it literally means the beginning of new Samvat. Samvatsara is the 60 years long cycle which is linked to the position of Jupiter. Each year in Samvatsara cycle is assigned a fixed name and the prediction for the coming year is done based on the nature of new Samvat.
Ugadi is the first day of lunisolar based Hindu calendar. Most Hindu calendars are based on an ancient treatise popularly known as Surya Siddhanta. As per Hindu beliefs, the treatise of Surya Siddhanta was revealed to mankind by the Lord Surya himself. Hence the origin of Ugadi might be impossible to date.
As per Vedic astrology the day of Ugadi is very significant. The day of Ugadi falls under Sadhe Teen Muhurat. In Vedic Astrology, Ugadi, Akshaya Tritiya, Vijayadashami and half of Bali Pratipada create Sadhe Teen Muhurta and these days need no Muhurta. It is believed that all work conducted on these days give positive results. Ugadi is also very significant for shopping and people do lots of shopping on the day of Ugadi.
There is no specific deity of Ugadi. However, people traditionally gather to listen to the recitation of Panchangam of the New Year which includes the general forecast of the year to come. The ritual of listening Panchanga is known as Panchanga Sravanam. Panchanga Sravanam is an informal social function in which an elderly and respected person will read Panchanga which includes yearly forecast of people based on their Janmarashi i.e. moonsigns.
As per Amanta as well as Purnimanta Hindu Calendar -
Shukla Paksha Pratipada (1st day) of Chaitra (1st month)
In case of Chaitra being leaped, Shuddha Chaitra month is preceded by leaped Chaitra month. When it happens, all Ugadi rituals are observed on the first day of Shuddha Chaitra month. However people start using new Samvat name in Sankalpas from the leaped Chaitra month only.
Some of the important Ugadi rituals -