The residents of Kairuppala in the Kurnool district wage a “fight” on New Year’s Day in Telugu
Festivals are rich in different traditions and rituals, but the unique way they are celebrated in different regions makes them more interesting. Ugadi, the new year according to the lunar calendar in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and neighboring Karnataka, is no exception.
More than pomp and glee, there are special traditions during the festivities in certain areas of Kurnool District.
In Aspari, the southwest end of the district bordering Karnataka, Ugadi is celebrated in a unique way. In the village of Kairuppala in the Aspari Mandal, people ring in the new year with ‘Pidakala Samaram’, as part of which they fight by throwing cow dung cakes at each other.
On Wednesday evening the entire village was split into two camps and hurled the cow dung cakes at each other while the procession of Lord Veerabhadra Swamy was held in the streets of the village.
Beyond caste and religion
Folklore has it that Veerabhadra Swamy, a Lingayat, wanted to marry Kalika Devi, a Dalit woman, but a fight broke out and the matter was settled amicably by the village chiefs and the marriage was ceremonially concluded.
However, the tradition continues even now. The village elders sit and marry Veerabhadra Swamy and Kalika Devi, but not before the fight in which cow dung cakes are thrown.
According to SI Giri Babu police, around 100 people were injured in the ritual, but neither side complained.
“All the villagers sat together to celebrate the Lord’s wedding. Lingayats, Reddys and Muslims represented Veerbhadra Swamy, while Yadava, Dalits and Kuruma communities represented Kalika Devi, ”he said.
Donkeys, the harbingers of peace
The celebrations at Kalluru in Kurnool City had their own specialty. Every year donkeys from all over the city are made to circle Chowdeswari Temple in a 3 foot deep mud created for this purpose.
Many people gathered in the temple on Wednesday to witness this ritual. The animals made three rounds of the temple. Then they were bathed, decorated, and worshiped. The belief is that donkeys running around in the mud bring peace to the city.