Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Puthandu - Tamil New Year

The Tamils have their own traditions to observe the New Year. The Tamil New Year is celebrated on the first day of the Tamil New Year which falls in the mid April according to the Gregorian calendar. The Tamil New Year is celebrated in Tamilnadu and Puducherry of India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Reunion Island and Mauritius. The Tamil New Year is celebrated according to the Hindu lunar-solar calendar.

Tamils have distinct cultures to celebrate their New Year. Puthandu follows the Nirayanam vernal equinox. The first month of the Tamil New Year is called Chitterai. On the day people gather at the temples to offer prayers and oblation to the God. In the temple city of Madurai, pujas are offered at the Meenakshi Temple. A fair cum exhibition is also organized at the temple ground by the name of Chitterai Porutkaatchi.

The Tamils decorate their houses with kolam on that day and also prepare elaborate meals to welcome the New Year. They celebrate the day with neem leaves and raw mangoes.

Puthandu is the time for the Tamils of great fun and festivity. A grand car show is organized at Tiruvidaimarudur off Kumbakonam. Fairs are also organized at places like-Tiruchirapalli, Kanchipuram and many other parts of Tamilnadu.

In some parts of southern Tamilnadu, Puthandu is also known as Vishu. As is the tradition on the day of Puthandu the elders give out money gifts to the unmarried young as a token of good fortune and young seek blessings from their elders.

Puthandu also describes the beginning of the ploughing session in Tamilnadu and hence, the first tilling of the land is also done of the day in a function called 'arpudu'.

In Sri Lanka, the Tamils celebrate their New Year with a herbal bath called 'maruthu-neer'. It is expected to bring in good health for people. The traditional game of coconut-war, por-thenkai, is also organized at various places of Sri Lanka.

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