Ougadi, or the Telugu New Year, is a festival celebrated by the Hindu populations in Mauritius, and is a Public Holiday in Mauritius.
Traditionally celebrated by the Telugu people, an ethnic group from south India, Ougadi is now celebrated by several other ethnic groups in Mauritius.
The Telugu People belong to one of the largest ethnic groups in the world, and Telugu is one of the most widely spoken languages in India, beaten only by Hindi.
The Telugu of Mauritius constitute a fairly large group of people, and are typically Indo-Mauritian descendants of Telugu communities from south and central India, mainly from Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring states.
Ougadi is a low key celebration, and although a public holiday in Mauritius, it is typically celebrated quietly at home with family. For this reason, visitors to Mauritius will hardly notice the event, except that stores close early, or are closed entirely, and that public services such as public transport might be a bit limited.
Ougadi marks the creation of the universe for the Telugu people – and this is why it is sometimes referred to the Telugu New Year. The event typically includes a purifying wash before the sun rises to mark the occasion.
Special meals are prepared, and lunch and dinner is had with family and friends. Indian cookies and cakes are also sometimes distributed to family and friends, and prayers are devoted to, and in honour of Brahma – the creator of the universe according to the Telugu.
Ougadi literally means ‘the beginning of a new age’, or ‘the dawn of a new era’, and is celebrated worldwide amongst Hindu populations.
The Mauritius Telugu Association is working to promote and preserve the Telugu Culture in Mauritius.