Ugadi, the Telugu New Year, is a time to celebrate with family and friends. The one thing I always look forward to on Ugadi is my share of Ugadi Pachadi; apart from the Pulihora, Bobbatlu, and other goodies, of course!
Ugadi Pachadi incorporates the six tastes found in nature; sweet, sour, tangy, spicy, bitter, and salty. The six tastes (shadruchulu) represent the various experiences we have in life, and having Ugadi Pachadi reminds us that we should face life with equanimity.
In my home, this pachadi is made by just dissolving salt, jaggery and tamarind pulp in water and then adding small mango pieces and neem flowers. The belief is that which ever taste predominates, life will be like that for the next year. 🙂 There is another variant in which all ingredients are ground up together. There the belief is that all tastes together makeup life.
Either way, eating Ugadi Pachadi is THE way to start the Telugu New Year in most traditional Andhra homes. It is first offered as Naivedyam to the Gods and then served to the family.