Tamil New Year Day or Varusha Pirappu or Puthandu (Sanskrit|पुथण्डु|Tamil:புத்தாண்டு | Hindi:पुथांडू) is an important Hindu Tamil festival celebrated by Tamil speaking Hindus and is celebrated in the beginning of Chithirai – the first month in the Tamil Calendar year.
Puthandu or Varsha Pirappu
14th April, 2014 – Chithirai (The first month in the Tamil Calendar Year)
Tamil Calendar and Tamil astrology (Nirayana astrology) are considered as one of the most ancient astrology system. The solar calendar system follows 60 year cycle and the years are named specifically (not numbers). The New Year will be called as ‘Kara’ (25th year) and the last year was called as ‘Vikhruti’ (24th year). The Tamil year has 12 months and they have specific Tamil names like Chithirai, Vaikasi, Aani, Aadi and so on. This sidereal astrology system has 27 constellations duly aligned with the zodiac and there are 108 mansions (padam).
According to the Tamil Panchangam (solar calendar system) it is conventional to identify three important planets as king (Raja), minister (Manthri) and commander (Senathipathy or Mekathipathy or Arkathipathy) for the Tamil New year.
Sun is denoted as the source of energy. Sun becomes exalted when it transits into Aries and it obtains its full potential during this period. Therefore offer your prayers to sun god. The power of sun transform the Tamil month Chithirai as an auspicious month and the Tamil New Year day as the most eventful day.
- According to Hindu mythology, on this day the Creator of the world Lord Brahma started creation.
- Legend has it that viewing auspicious things on this day will bring good fortune throughout the year.
- On the Tamil New Year’s Day, poojas are performed in various temples. Tamil people celebrate Tamil New Year in the temple city of Madurai, the Chitterai Thiruvizha is celebrated in the Meenakshi Temple. A huge exhibition is held, called Chitterai Porutkaatchi. In some parts of Southern Tamil Nadu, it is called Chitterai Vishu.
- Sri Lankan Tamils observe the traditional New Year in April with the first financial transaction known as the ‘Kai-vishesham’ where elders gift money to the unmarried young, particularly children as a token of good luck.
- The event is also observed with the ‘arpudu’ or the first ploughing of the ground to prepare for the new agricultural cycle.
- The ‘punya-kaalam’ or auspicious time when the sun reportedly shifts from Meena raasi to Mesha raasi is considered ideal to commence new activities on a favorable note.
- Sri Lankan Tamils begin the year with a herbal bath with ‘maruthu-neer’ with ingredients for good health.
- The game of ‘por-thenkai’ or coconut wars between youth is played in villages through the Tamil north and east of the island while cart races are also held.
- The festive Puthandu season in April is a time for family visits and the renewal of filial bonds. It coincides with the Sinhalese New Year season.
Cultures , Rituals and Festive:
The Tamil Hindus attach much importance to Varushapirappu or Tamil Puthandu.
- The houses will be cleaned and white washed. On Tamil New year day the front court yard of the houses will be adorned with Rangoli kolam.
- Mango leaf festoons will be tied over the front entry doors. Before night womenfolk will arrange fruits, coconuts, betel leaves, nuts, flower, coins or currency notes, gold jewels in a large plate and will be kept in a common place. Oil lamp will be lit.
- Viewing the fruit as soon as you woke up in the morning is considered as auspicious, and it is known as ‘Kani kanal’.
- Elders and other members will have bath and wear new dresses. In some specific families darpanam (holy prayer in remembrance of departed souls) will be offered. Family members prostrate before the elders and seek their blessings.
Tamil New Year Recipes
Maanga Pachadi or raw mango pachadi is a must in the New Year’s menu. It is a sweet, sour and bitter dish made with raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers. Given below is a list of dishes prepared on that day (Tamil New Year festival menu)
- Payasam recipes (find varieties of payasam/Kheer recipes)
- Cabbage curry or plantian curry or any vegetable curry
- Cucumber Pachadi
- Maanga Pachadi (Raw mango pachadi – a must for Tamil New Year)
- Vadai or paruppu vada
- Curd rice
Panchanga Patanam’ or astrological prediction of the Tamil new year from the New Year ‘Panchangam’. In some temples there will be festivals, processions, lectures and music events.