Tamil New Year

Tamil New Year Quick Facts - CA

AKA NameTamil Puthandu, Puthuvarusham
HashtagsCompiled on#TamilNewYear, #TamilNewYear2024
Related Hashtags#Puthandu
2024 DateApril 14, 2024
2025 DateApril 14, 2025

Tamil New Year

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Tamil New Year History

Tamil New Year, known as Puthandu, marks the beginning of a new year according to the Tamil solar calendar. It is a day to reflect on the past year and prepare for a prosperous one ahead, typically involving cleaning and decorating homes, preparing elaborate feasts, and spending time with family and friends. Much like New Year celebrations in various cultures, Tamil New Year holds the symbolic significance of renewal and rebirth, serving as an opportunity for individuals to renew their commitments to personal progress and community life.

Historically, this celebration has its roots in the ancient Dravidian civilization of southern India, which is over 2000 years old. The significance of this occasion extends beyond the geographical boundaries of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, reaching as far as the Tamil diaspora in Canada, which boasts a strong cultural following. By maintaining traditions associated with the Tamil New Year, the Tamil Canadian community not only sustains ties with their cultural heritage but also engenders a rich, diverse multicultural fabric within Canadian society.

In Canada, Tamil New Year is celebrated with much enthusiasm by the Tamil community, primarily located in urban centers like Toronto. Traditional religious ceremonies are held in Hindu temples, followed by cultural performances, Tamil arts and literature showcases, and festive feasts. Communities also host public events, including parades and fairs, providing an opportunity for broader Canadian society to participate and learn about Tamil culture. The Tamil New Year typically falls in mid-April, aligning with the Vernal Equinox; however, the exact date can vary slightly due to differences in time zones and astronomical calculations.

Facts about Tamil New Year

  • A ritual called Kanni is performed on morning of Puthandu. The Pooja room is decorated with a large mirror as well as with trays holding different assortments. These include signs of prosperity like fruit, flowers, and jewelry. An altar is lit and then families usually visit their local temple.
  • Neem flowers and fresh mangoes, which are in full bloom during this season are believed to be a sign of prosperity. They are used to prepare Maanga Pachadi - a New Year's Eve dish which is sweet, sour and bitter to signify different aspects of life.
  • The first Tamil immigrants arrived in Canada under the British Commonwealth's assisted passage scheme in the 1950s. Since then, the Tamil community in Canada has grown, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area. Today, Tamil New Year is an integral part of the cultural calendar for Canadian Tamils and is celebrated with enthusiasm across the country.
  • Toronto hosts the largest Tamil street festival outside of the Indian subcontinent, Tamil Fest. Though not exclusively tied to the Tamil New Year, this festival showcases the richness of Tamil culture, language, cuisine, and history, including traditional New Year celebrations.

Top things to do in Canada for Tamil New Year

  • Make your own Kolam. Kolams are South Indian decorative designs traditionally drawn on the doorsteps of homes. They are thought to bring prosperity. Kolams are made with materials such as rice flour, chalk, chalk powder and rock powder. Take a look at these examples.
  • Visit the Sri Varasiththi Vinaayagar Hindu Temple: Located in Toronto, this temple often hosts special poojas and cultural events for Tamil New Year.
  • Attend Tamil Fest: This is the largest Tamil street festival of its kind outside of the Indian subcontinent. The two-day event happens annually in Scarborough, Toronto. During the Tamil New Year, there will be special performances, food stalls featuring Tamil cuisine, arts and craft stalls, and lots of family-friendly activities.

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