Tamil New Year or Puthandu
‘Puthandu’ popularly known as ‘Varusha Pirappu’, marks the beginning of the Dravidian New Year in the State of Tamil Nadu. The focus is on prosperity throughout the year, and a prayer of thanks to the gods. Tamil New year is celebrated on the first day of the Tamil Month Chithirai which normally falls on April 13th or 14th every year.
Here it is believed that Lord Brahma, the God of creation, began creating the world on this day. Tamilians herald the new year, greeting each other ‘Puthandu Vazthukkal’ with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm. Special Kolams are drawn outside the front door, and people dress up in new clothes, feast, exchange greetings and offer prayers at temples. It is the day to give an auspicious start to the coming year by looking at all things nice and wonderful – fresh fruits, vegetables, clean rice and coconuts are kept in a decorated pile in front of the gods. The day is also associated with the harvest festival celebrated in many other parts of the country. Farmers pray for rainfall and good harvest.
Tamilians feast on dishes like Vada and payasam (Kheer) and other savouries. The special dish of the day is ‘mango Pachidi’ made with neem flowers, jaggery, mango, green chilli, salt and tamarind juice representing the six major emotions that humans experience.
Hordes of devotees throng temples across Tamil Nadu to propitiate Hindu deities on the occasion of Tamil New Year as Hindus believe that offering special prayers on the occasion brings them prosperity. Endless queues of devotees wait from dawn at temples, especially temples such as Meenakshi temple in Madurai, Manakkula Vinayagar Temple in Puducherry, Sri Parthasarathy & Kapaleeswrar temple in Chennai etc. Cultural processions are held at various places with variety of dances and traditional arts. Fireworks and live music shows are also organised to mark the occasion.