Puthandu, or better known as Tamil New Year, is the celebration of the first day of the Tamil new year traditionally in mid-April by people of Tamil origin in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in India, and by the Tamil population in Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. People greet each other on this day by saying (Iniya Tamizh Puthaandu Nalvazhthukkal). This is in keeping with the Hindu solar calendar. Tamilians believe that it was on the Tamil New Year's Day that Lord Brahma started the creation of the world.
Highlights of the Festival
The highlight of the festival is the 'Maanga Pachadi' (a dish made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers), which is at the same time sweet, sour and bitter. This signifies all the different aspects of our life.
Many people get their houses 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 colorful Kolam 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.
April 14th also happens to be the Bengali New Year Day, Naba Barsha, which begins with the ‘Prabhat Pheries’ (an early morning procession) with songs and dances welcoming the New Year. In Kerala ‘Vishu’ is celebrated by Malayalees commemorating the beginning of the astronomical New Year in the Malayalam Calendar.