India is a diverse country with every state having its own distinct identity. This is formed by various cultures and traditions followed by people living in that state. South Indian culture forms an integral part of the Indian culture. Tamil Nadu is located in the extreme south of the sub-continent, surrounded by the states of Kerala on the west. Both these states celebrate new year, on April 14 every year. New year is the day when the beginning of the new calendar is observed. Tamil Nadu celebrates new year as ‘Puthandu” while Kerala does so as ‘Vishu’. Let’s explore the amazing celebrations of these two festive occasions!
Vishu – Malayali New Year
Vishu which means ‘equal’, is the astronomical new year celebration of Hindu’s in the states of Kerala. It signifies the completion of spring equinox. During this time, the sun passes to the Aries zodiac or the Mesha Raashi. This festival is celebrated joyfully with preparations of auspicious items and amazing decorations across the state.
1. Vishu – Lord Vishnu :
The festival is marked by viewing Lord Vishnu as the first thing on the day. It is being believed traditionally, that one’s future is a function of what one experiences, and new year will be better if one starts this day by viewing Lord Vishnu as the first thing. People visit various Lord Vishnu temples to receive the blessings of the lord.
Women spend an entire day before the festival on decoration and preparation of auspicious food items. This is the first thing that devotes see on Vishu. Vishukkani setting includes various items like rice, cucumber, jack fruit, coconut, etc. The most important ingredient is the Konna flower which blooms during the Vishu season. This is followed by one interesting tradition where one member of the family, usually the elderly lights the lamp at dawn, blindfolds other members of the family, and brings them to see the setting of Vishu.
3. Vishu Kanji And Vishu Padakkam:
The celebration of Vishu is incomplete without Vishu Kanji and Thoran. Vishu Kanji is made up of coconut milk, rice and spices, is the main dish. Thoran is the side dish. Fireworks also referred to as Vishu Padakkam, constitute a huge part of Vishu celebration. In different regions of North Kerala, everyone engages in bursting crackers the evening prior to Vishu and also in the morning.
The Malayalam New Year is observed to be a great day to forget past and give a fresh start to life.
Puthandu – Tamil New Year
Puthandu or Tamil New Year is celebrated in the month of chitterai, the first month of the Tamil Solar calendar. It is believed that on this auspicious day, Lord Brahma began his creation, hence it is considered to be very religious. Tamilians greet each other by saying ‘Puttantu valttukkal’, meaning happy new year. On the eve of Puthandu, a tray with 3 different fruits such as mango, banana and jackfruit along with other necessary ingredients is prepared.
1. Arpudu And Por Thenkai :
Tamil new year is celebrated with event of ‘Arpudu’, the first ploughing of the ground for the preparation of fresh agricultural land. The game of ‘Por Thenkai’, also known as coconut wars between the youngsters is played in villages through out Tamil Nadu. The festive season of Puthandu is a reunion for all family, friends and relatives.
2.Mangai – Pachadi :
The festival is marked by a grand feast with ‘Mangai – Pachadi’ being the main dish. It is prepared from a variety of flavour. These traditional dishes which are made of combination of several flavours, depict that one must expect and experience all flavours in the coming new year. Jaggery, raw mango, bitter neem and various spices form the constitute of this special delicacy. As we have mentioned, Jaggery is an important ingredient of the food prepared during Puthandu, so why not opt for something healthy? We have already provided you with the various benefits of Karupatti, so buy Karupatti now and enjoy the several dishes that can be made using it.
3. Porutkatchi And panchangam :
During this occasion, huge exhibitions and fairs are held, known as ‘chitterai Porutkaatchi’. Another amazing highlight of Puthandu is the reading of Panchangam or the almanac. This traditional activity is performed where everyone sit together and the elderly person reads out about the ensuring year.
Tamil New Year reminds of the various aspects of life and how it should be dealt with equal equanimity. It reflects that events of life are not completely sweet or bitter, but it is a mixture of both and should be accepted and experienced that way.
Wishing you all a very happy Vishu and Puthandu in advance from the whole team of The South Indian Store!