In short

Puthandu ( tamoul : தமிழ்ப்புத்தாண்டு ), également connu sous le nom de Puthuvarudam , Chithirai Thirunal ou nouvel an tamoul , est le premier jour de l’année du calendrier tamoul et traditionnellement célébré comme un festival. La date du festival est fixée avec le cycle solaire du calendrier hindou luni-solaire, comme le premier jour du mois tamoul Chithirai. Il tombe le ou vers le 14 avril de chaque année sur le calendrier grégorien.


Puthandu, the Tamil New Year

The Tamil New Year follows the spring equinox and usually falls on April 14 of the Gregorian year. The day is celebrated on the first day of the traditional Tamil calendar and is a public holiday in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. The same date is observed as the traditional new year in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tripura, Bihar, Odisha, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, as well as in Nepal and in Bangladesh. Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka also celebrate the same day as their New Year, likely an influence of the culture shared between South and Southeast Asia in the 1st millennium CE time.

Tamils celebrate Puthandu, also called Puthuvarusham, as the traditional “Tamil/Hindu New Year,” says Peter Reeves. It is the month of Chittirai, the first month of the Tamil solar calendar, and Puthandu usually falls on April 14. In parts of southern Tamil Nadu, the festival is called Chittirai Vishu. 

On the eve of Puthandu, a platter composed of three fruits (mango, banana and jackfruit), betel leaves and areca nuts, gold/silver jewelry, coins/currency, flowers and mirror. This is similar to the ceremonial platter of the Vishu New Year festival in Kerala. According to Tamil tradition, this festive platter is auspicious as the first sight upon waking up on the New Year. The entrances to houses are richly decorated with colored rice powder. These designs are called kolams.

Sri Lankan Tamils observe the traditional New Year in April with the first financial transaction known as Kai-vishesham. In this transaction, the children go to the elders to pay their respects, and the elders give their blessings and offer pocket money to the children in return. The event is also observed with arpudu or the first plowing of the soil to prepare for the new agricultural cycle. 

The game of “por-thenkai” or coconut wars between young people is played in Tamil villages in the north and east of the island, while cart races are also organized. The Puthandu festive season in April is the time for family visits and renewal of filial ties. This coincides with the Sinhala New Year season.

Plus tard dans la journée, les familles profitent d’un festin. Un plat spécial appelé Mangai-pachadi est préparé à partir d’une variété de saveurs, similaire au pacchadi des aliments du nouvel an d’Ugadi et de Vishu. Il est fait de jaggery doux, de moutarde astringente, de mangue crue aigre, de neem amer et de piments rouges. Ce plat complexe est dégusté rituellement par les Tamouls, comme le sont les hindous ailleurs au cours de la nouvelle année. 

These traditional festive recipes, which combine different flavors, are a symbolic reminder that we should expect all the flavors of experiences in the coming new year, that no event or episode is entirely sweet or bitter, that experiences are transient and ephemeral, and that we must make the most of them.

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Today, the Tamils (Sri Lanka and South India) celebrate the new year, Puthandu. It is an important day, considered to be when Brahma, the Creator, started the creation of the universe. On this festive morning, there is a ritual bath, followed by a religious ceremony which brings together the members of the family. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #14April #puthandu #SriLanka