The Tamil New Year is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu Solar Calendar. Popularly known as Puthandu, the Tamil New Year is celebrated with feasts in Hindu homes and the entrances to the houses are decorated elaborately with kolams. Every year in the month of Chithrai (the first month of the Hindu calendar), Tamil New Year is observed with much gaiety and fervor.
Time of Celebration of Tamil New Year
Based on the solar cycle, the Tamil calendar has a sixty years cycle, with each year comprising twelve months. The Tamil New Year is celebrated after the vernal equinox and it generally falls on April 14 of the Gregorian Year.
Description of Tamil New Year
The Tamil New Year which usually falls on April 14th is an occasion that calls for celebration for Tamilians all over the world. Tamilaians from different sphere of the society come forward to take part in this celebration.This is supposedly the day when Lord Brahma (the Creator of the world, according to Hindu mythology) started creation. People exchange greetings of 'Puthandu Vazthukal' (Happy New Year) with great fervor on this day.
The Tamil New Year day begins with viewing the 'kanni' (the auspicious sight) at dawn, out of the expectation that starting the New Year by looking at auspicious things will bring good luck all through the year. The auspicious things include gold and silver jewelry, betel leaves, nuts, fruits and vegetables, flowers, raw rice and coconuts. It is followed by people taking a ritual bath and then they visit the temple to pray for a happy and prosperous New Year. After this, the Panchangam (almanac) is read.
During the Tamil New Year celebrations, women decorate the entrance to their houses with 'kolam' (design made with rice flower), and adorn the doorway with mango leaves. Every year on Tamil New Year, a grand car festival is held at Tiruvadamarudur near Kumbakonam. The month of Chitthirai also witnesses the marriage of Goddess Meenakshi to Lord Sundereswarar, which is celebrated as Chitthirai Festival.
The highlight of Tamil New Year Festival in Tamil Nadu is the 'Maanga Pachadi' (a dish made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers), which tastes sweet, sour and bitter at the same time. This signifies the various aspects of our lives.