Tamil New Year (Tamil Varuda Pirappu) is celebrated on April 14 every year as per the Tamil Hindu calendar after the spring equinox. It is the start of the first Tamil month Chithirai. It is also called Nirayana Mesha Sankranti (Sun’s transition into Nirayana Aries). It is the same day of New Year celebrations for people of Assam, Punjab, WestBengal, Odisha, Manipuretc.
Tamil New Year is celebrated in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and Sri Lanka and in places which are occupied by Tamil speaking population.
Tamil New Year is called Vishu in Kerala and Vaisakhi in North and Central regions of India.
In old Tamil literary works, there are references about the transit of the Sun into Aries signifying the start of Tamil New Year with the first month as Chithirai (as found in Nakiirar’s Nedunalvaadai). In Tholkappiar’s Tholkappiam, we find the division of Tamil months into six seasons with Chithirai as the starting month. There are references in Silapathikaram regarding the 12 zodiac signs starting with Mesha (Chithirai).
Any good start should bring good returns for the oncoming year. It is the disposal of the bygone days with a welcome of the newborn year. The same positive vibe is found in celebrating Tamil New Year.
On the eve of Tamil New Year, fruits like mango, banana and jack fruit, betel leaves and arecanuts are decorated in a tray along with silver and gold coins and ornaments, flowers and a mirror. In the early morning of the New Year, people wake up on seeing this tray which is an auspicious sight bringing all prosperity to life in the upcoming year. This event is called Vishu Kani in Kerala.
People take bath in the early morning, visit temples, greet friends and family, exchange sweets and celebrate the day. Rangolis in the front of the house add beauty to the festival.
In Madurai, Chithirai PeruVizha in Meenakshi Amman Temple and Chithirai Porul Katchi in the City are very famous attracting crowds of people. Car festival in Thiruvidaimaruthur on this day is also very famous. There are festivals in Tiruchirappalli and Kancheepuram.
As with any Ugadi celebrations, mangai pachadi forms the special dish of the day with its symbolic representation of life. In Mangai pachadi, we find all kinds of tastes like sweet, bitter, hot and astringent so as to understand that life is a mixture of all good and bad things and we have to accept them on the go. It is also a common belief that we should add all the tastes on the very first day of our New Year celebrations so that we will retain the mental balance to accept ups and downs in life with an equal heart for the ongoing year.
Panchanga sravanam is part and parcel of New Year celebrations. It is held normally in the evenings in temples or other significant public places. Pandits and purohits who are well versed in panchangam reading predict the incidents of the year and also the rasi palan for all the 12 rasis. They predict the seasonal rains, profit and loss for the year and give a general picture of the outcomes of the New Year.
At the end of Panchanga sravanam, paanakam, niirmoru and sundal are distributed to people. Panchangams are also given or sold to people for their personal use.
Iniya Tamil Puthandu Vazhthukkal.
May this New Year bring every aspect of prosperity and health in your life.