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The Tamil New Year, also known as Puthandu, holds substantial significance for the Tamil community not just in Tamil Nadu, but throughout India. It is a time to welcome the New Year with customary rituals, traditions, and festivities. This festival is marked with equal fervor by the Tamil community irrespective of their religious beliefs, emphasizing a sense of unity and community. The observance includes the decoration of houses, preparation of festive meals, and exchange of gifts. A central aspect of this celebration is the creation of beautiful, vibrant designs called Kolams at the entrance of homes, symbolizing the vibrancy and prosperity that the New Year brings.
The Tamil New Year is believed to have its origins in the Sangam Age, which dates back to 3rd century BC. The observance is closely linked with the Tamil Hindu solar calendar, followed by the people for identifying auspicious days and determining religious festivities. The festival offers an opportunity for the Tamil diaspora in India to celebrate their cultural heritage and strengthen their communal ties. It is also closely connected with agricultural activities, as it marks the beginning of the new agricultural cycle, offering prayers for a bountiful harvest ahead.
The Tamil New Year is celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month of Chithirai, which typically falls around the 14th of April. In India, the celebrations begin with the sight of the new moon the night before. Homes are cleaned, and new clothes are worn to welcome the New Year. A special festive meal known as the Maanga Pachadi is prepared, which blends six different tastes representing the diverse experiences of the year ahead. Temples across the country witness special prayers and offerings. The festivities also include cultural performances, carnivals, and processions making it an important cultural celebration in the Indian calendar.
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