14 April 2010

Happy Tamil New Year

Right-click to enlarge photos

Tamil New Year (Puthandu) in keeping with the Hindu solar calendar, generally falls either on April 13 or April 14 and marks the first day of the traditional Tamil calendar. This auspicious day is also popular as Varusha Pirappuv when as per Hindu mythological legends, Lord Brahma started upon the creation of the Universe.

New Year's day is a gala time for all Tamils. The main focus is on the food eaten on the day. 'Maanga Pachadi' is the pulse of the festival. It is a dish made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers thus representing different tastes; sweet, salt, sour and bitter and signifies the various flavours of life.

Prior to Puthandu, people often get their homes painted to mark the renewal of life. Ladies adorn their houses with fresh mango leaves and Kolam (rangoli) designs. Sometimes, a decorated lamp kuthuvillakku is placed in the center of colourful Kolams to bring light to the house.

People in the advent of merrymaking and feasting exchange gifts with each other. Children are highly excited at the time of Puthandu as they receive small gifts or cash from their parents and relatives.

In Tamil Nadu, people follow some strict rituals in a belief to ensure well-being and prosperity of their families. Most important ritual of the day is called 'Kani Kanal', the literal translation of this is 'first sight'.

In Kani Kanal there is a prescribed list of items, which a person must see first thing to bring good luck like gold and silver jewellery, betel leaves, nuts, fruits and vegetables, flowers, raw rice and coconuts.

Following the rituals, Tamils take bath, wear fresh clothes and visit the temples to pray for success in life. After this, the Panchangam (almanac) is read.

At the time of New Year festivities, a grand Car Festival also takes place at Tiruvadamarudur near Kumbakonam. At some places, Chitthirai festival is also celebrated. It is said on this day, Goddess Meenakshi got married to Lord Sundareswarar.

The ‘Real’ Kani


1 comment:

prakasam kannan said...

the "real" kani fantastic.