12 April 2007


Puthandu marks the Tamil New Year's Day and is celebrated in the beginning of Chithirai; the first month in the Tamil Calendar year. The auspicious occasion of Puthandu popularly known as 'Varusha Pirappu' or just 'New Year' falls this year on April 14th. Many people in Tamil Nadu also celebrate Puthandu as the day when Lord Brahma started creation. At certain places 'Chitthirai Festival' is also organized during this auspicious month to celebrate the marriage of Goddess Meenakshi to Lord Sundareswarar.

People of Tamil Nadu celebrate Puthandu Pirappu by following specific traditions and rituals. Early in the morning, womenfolk adorn the entrance of the home with colorful Kolam (geometric patterns). At the centre of the kolam a lamp is placed called kuthuvillakku in the belief it will dispel darkness.

A popular custom of Puthandu is 'kanni' which means 'auspicious sight'. People start Puthandu day by looking at favourable things like gold and silver jewellery, betel leaves, nuts, fruits, vegetables, flowers, raw rice and coconuts. This is done under the belief that a good start to New Year will ensure prosperity and happiness in the coming year. On this day it is also customary in this State for people to visit Temples to invoke Divine blessings for the coming year.

Festive food includes 'Maanga Pachadi', a sweet, sour and bitter dish made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers a dish which is simultaneously sweet and sour; in order to signify the opposites of life. Many even get their homes painted especially for the New Year and people visit friends and give gifts to youngsters on this day. Also on Tamil New Year day businesses usually start new account books.

The Tamil Calendar, which has 12 months from Chitthirai (April, May) to Panguni (March, April), has a 60-year cycle.

Chitthirai April 14th to May 14th
Vaikasi May 15th to June 14th
Aani June June 15th to July 16th
Aadi July July 17th to August 16th
Aavani August 17th to September 16th
Purattasi September17th to October 17th
Aipasi October 18th to November 15th
Karthigai November 16th to December 15th
Marghazi December 16th to January 13th
Thai January 14th to February 12th
Masi February 13th to March 13th
Panguni March 14th to April 13th

The days of the Tamil Calendar relate to the celestial bodies in the solar system.

Sun Sunday
Moon Monday
Mars Tuesday
Mercury Wednesday
Jupiter Thursday
Venus Friday
Saturn Saturday

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