ವಸಂತ ಋತು - ಚೈತ್ರ ಮಾಸ - ಶುಕ್ಲ ಪಕ್ಷ - ಪ್ರತಿಪದ
वसन्तर्तु (वसन्त ऋतु) - चैत्र मास - शुक्ल पक्ष - प्रतिपद्
Vasanta (Spring) - Month of Chaitra - Bright fortnight - First day
Significance of this day:
This yuga (kaliyuga / कलियुग / ಕಲಿಯುಗ) began on Yugaadi (युगादि / ಯುಗಾದಿ). That was the first day of the bright fortnight of the month of Chaitra. This day is very significant. This is also the beginning of the new year according to the Indian calender. Just like night is follwed by day, darkness is removed by light. So is the new moon day (अमावस्ये / ಅಮಾವಸ್ಯೆ) followed by the new year. Also on this day people should pray for a prosperous year ahead. A new samvatsara (संवत्सर / ಸಂವತ್ಸರ) begins with this day. With this yugaadi coming in year 2009 A.D. starts the samvatsara named "virodhi" (विरोधि / ವಿರೋಧಿ). Let us discuss a little more about samvatsaras here.
In our tradition, every year i.e., samvatsara, has been given a name. There are 60 samvatsaras in all, coming one after another in a sequence. The previous samvatsara (till 26 March 2009) was named sarvadhaari (सर्वधारि / ಸರ್ವಧಾರಿ). Every samvatsara begins on the first day of the month of Chaitra and goes up till the new moon day (अमावस्य / ಅಮಾವಸ್ಯೆ) of the month of Phalguna (फाल्गुण / ಫಾಲ್ಗುಣ). If a person lives for 60 years, then he would have seen one full cycle of all samvatsaras. In such cases, some people, depending on their tradition celebrate what is known as "Shashtaadbi" (शष्ठाब्दि / ಶಷ್ಠಾಬ್ದಿ). The details pertaining to that shall be presented elsewhere.
Important activities to be performed on Yugaadi:
On the auspicious day of Yugadi, one should wake up early in the morning and obey the elders in seeing ones' face in ghee filled container and then in the mirror (The rationale for this will be put up soon). Then one should take oil bath / head bath along with relatives and friends, and worship gods, wear new clothes, and then listen to results / fruits of the year from learned men. However, others do listen to Panchanga after waking up. Both practices are acceptable. One also has to do the following things:
1. Worship the Panchaanga
2. Seek blessings of elders by serving them
3. All the family members should consume a small quantity of neem and jaggery. Neem, being bitter signifies suffering / pain while jaggery being sweet signifies joy / happiness. Hence, it signifies that we vow to take both pain and happiness, success and failure equally.
4. One should necessarily take head bath / oil bath. The significance of oil bath is explained in Vashishta smriti as follows:
If a person doesnt take oil bath on the first day of Spring then that person will suffer in life and experience grave hell.