Puthandu the Tamil New Year on 14th April2016 (Thursday):
Mesha Sankranthi Moment at 19:58 on 13th, April
"Tamil New Year" is also known as Varusha pirappu and is observed on first day of Tamil month Chithirai and is celebrated along with Vishu of Kerala the "Kerala New Year "as the same festival on 14th April in the Kerala month of Medam all over India by Keralites.
In Tamil Nadu when Sankranthi takes place after sunrise and before sunset the year begins on the same day. If Sankranthi takes place after sunset then the year begins on the following day.This rule is good to start first day of the year for civil reckoning. However auspicious time, for Dan-Punya activities during Mesha Sankranthi, is independent of above rules and should be done after considering exact moment of Sankranthi because only certain time duration before and after Sankranthi moment is considered auspicious for Sankranthi related activities.
Tamil New Year, is the celebration of the first day of the Tamil new year in mid-April by Tamils in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in India, Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka, and by Tamils in Malaysia, Singapore, Réunion and Mauritius. On this day, Tamil people greet each other by saying "Puttāṇṭu vāḻttukkaḷ!" and celebrate the festival by Feasting, gift-giving and visiting homes of each other.
The traditional Tamil year starts on 14 April 2016 (Kali Yuga 5118) and dated according to the Vikram Samvat or Saka era.The Tamil calendar thus begins on the same date observed by most traditional calendars in India as in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Manipur, Mithila, Odisha, Punjab, Tripura, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The 60-year cycle is ancient and is observed by most traditional calendars of India and China, and is related to 5 revolutions of Jupiter, or to 60-year orbit of Nakshatras (stars) as described in the Surya Siddhanta.
Preparation on the Festival:
On the eve of Puthandu, a tray is arranged with three fruits (mango,banana and jack fruit), betel leaves and arecanut, gold/silver jewellery, coins/money, flowers and a mirror is placed. This is to be viewed upon waking in the morning before the break of dawn and the day begins with ritual oil-bath followed by prayers. Oil bath and eating Neem leaves are must rituals suggested by scriptures. 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 Chittirai Vishu. The day is marked with a feast in Tamil homes and entrances to the houses are decorated elaborately with mango leafs and kolams or rangolis made of powdered rice by adding colours in it. This day is celebrated by some communities with neem flowers and raw mangoes by offering to God and Goddesses which symbolize growth and prosperity.
On this day a big Car Festival is held at Tiruvidaimarudur near Kumbakonam. Festivals are also held at Tiruchirapalli, Kanchipuram and many other places.
Car Festival at Tiruvidaimarudur Kumbakonam
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 favourable note and people 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 along with cart races .It is a time for family visits and the renewal of filial bonds which coincides with the Sinhalese new year season.
In Malaysia and Singapore, Tamils join Sikhs, Malayalees and Bengalis to celebrate the traditional new year in mid-April with leaders across the political spectrum wishing the ethnic Indian community for the new year with Special religious events held in Hindu temples, in Tamil community centers and Gurudwaras along with Cultural programs and media events on that day for the Indian community.
The World famous Bhagavan Kovil celebrates Ugadi every year.
Bhagavan Kovil is a famous temple near Dharapuram of Tirupur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, India.The temple is famous for the deity Bhagavan Thirumalaiswamy who is a human turned God. This temple is very well known for the Ugadi festival which falls on Indian summer months of March or April and mostly on the Telugu new year day called Ugadi. This temple gets visitors in lakhs during the world famous festival. There is tourist attraction near this place, Nallathangal Dam is located 4 km from Bhagavan kovil.
Bhagavan Kovil in Tirupur Tamilnadu
Tamil Nadu is not only a land of temples but also a land of festivals. There is not a single day where a festival is not celebrated in the state. Sometimes there’s a festival related to a temple,religion, and the seasons.
We have One more festival to be celebrated on this day called Vishu of Kerala the Kerala New Year is also celebrated on the same day 14th April in the month of Medam of Kerala all over India by Keralites.
Vishu is an Ancient Hindu festival celebrated in Kerala on 14th April like the Tamilnadu people Puthandu festival in India. It is also celebrated as Bisu in Mangalore and Udupi district of Karnataka in India. Vishu signifies the Hindu New Year and falls on the month of Medam in the Malayalam calendar, usually in the second week of April in the Gregorian calendar.
Celebration on Vishu:
Like other people of different states, the people of Kerala also give a thorough wash of their homes on this festival and take oil baths. It is considered a festival of light and fireworks with decorating lights and bursting of firecrackers (Vishupadakkam) is part of the celebration. Other things done on this day are buying of new clothes (Puthukodi) for the occasion, the tradition of giving money called Vishukkaineetam ,and the Vishu feast or Sadya, which consist of equal proportions of salty, sweet, sour and bitter items. Feast items include Veppampoorasam, Mampazhappulissery, Vishu kanji and Vishu katta.
The Sadya on Vishu
Important Event of Vishu:
The most important event on Vishu is the Vishukkani, which means "the first thing seen on the day of Vishu after waking up". The Vishukkani consists of a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles intended to signify prosperity, including rice, fruits and vegetables, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, yellow flowers called konna (Cassia fistula), holy texts and coins, all arranged around lord Krishna in an ambience lit by nilavilakku or tookkuvilakku (traditional oil lamps) usually in the prayer room of the house. This is arranged the night before Vishu and is the first sight seen on Vishu. As a result, the Vishukkani is prepared with a lot of care to make it a positive sight and bring a wonderful, prosperous year ahead. Reading verses from the Hindu Holy book Ramayanam after seeing the Vishukkani is considered auspicious. It is also believed that the page of the Ramayanam which is opened up will have a bearing on one's life in the coming year.
Auspicious site on Vishu the Vishnu Kani plate
On Vishu, devotees often visit temples like Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple or Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple to have a 'Vishukkani Kazhcha' (viewing) in the early hours of the day.
Visit of Temples on Vishu
Belief and Significance of the festival Vishu:
There is a Belief that Lord Sri Krishna killed the demon Narakasura on the Vishu day and also the demon king Ravana. Ravana had never allowed Surya deva (Sun God) to rise straight from the East and after Ravana’s death it was on a Vishu day, that Surya deva started to rise from the East. Hindus of Kerala and nearby places celebrate Vishu to commemorate the return of Surya deva.The Vishu Kani is meant to bring luck and prosperity for the year starting from Vishu Day Medam 1st. As Vishu marked the first day of the Malayalam Zodiac, it is considered an appropriate time to offer oblations to Hindu gods.
Surya Deva rising from East
Vishu signifies the sun's transit into the Meda Raasi (first zodiac sign) according to Indian astrological calculations, and falls on the spring equinox. During the equinox, a day has equal number of hours of daylight and darkness,which describes the origin of the word "Vishu" which in Sanskrit means "equal".Vishu is a festival, on which farmers in kerala begins their agriculture activities..etc.
Image Courtesy: Google