Hyderabad, April 11 (IANS) Telugu-speaking people Thursday celebrated the Telugu New Year 'Ugadi' with traditional fanfare and enthusiasm.
People in Andhra Pradesh and other parts of India offered special prayers, decorated entrances of their houses and shops with strings of mango leaves, tasted the traditional 'Ugadi pacchadi' and heard 'panchangnam' or the forecast of the coming year by 'agma' pundits to usher in the New Year.
Thousands of devotees thronged temples to pray for happiness and prosperity. Special prayers were held at Tirumala, Srisailam, Vijayawada and Bhadrachalam temples.
People also attended special functions where pundits read out religious almanac of the coming year. Literary discussions, poetry recitations, recognition of authors through awards and cultural programmes marked the day.
Women prepared 'Ugadi pacchadi', a mixture of neem buds, raw mango, tamarind juice, pepper, jaggery and salt, which is a necessary part of the celebratory dishes. The mixture symbolises that life is a mixture of various experiences which should be accepted together and with equanimity.
The main function was held at Ravindra Bharati in the state capital, where an agma pundit read out the religious almanac for the coming year. The pundit has forecast adequate rains and a good year for agriculture.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and his cabinet colleagues attended the main celebrations and tasted 'Ugadi pacchadi'. The chief minister on this occasion launched Amma Hastam, a new scheme to supply a basket of nine essential commodities to poor families at subsidised prices.
The chief minister said his government was committed to development of Telugu language and culture. He listed out the steps taken by the government in this regard.
People who excelled in different spheres of life were felicitated on the occasion.
'Ugadi' celebrations were also held at Gandhi Bhavan, headquarters of the ruling Congress party, and at NTR Trust Bhavan - the office of main opposition Telugu Desam Party.
Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu and other leaders greeted people on the occasion and hoped that the New Year would bring happiness and prosperity for Telugus around the world.