About... Festivals Indian New Year Festivals

What is Puthandu?

What is Puthandu?

Puthandu, also known as Tamil New Year, is a festival celebrated by Tamilians in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in Sri Lanka. It falls on the first day of the Tamil month of Chithirai, which usually falls on April 14th in 2023 but it can vary since it’s based on a different calendar.

Tamil New Year
Tamil New Year – Puthandu Vazhthukal Image by Freepik

The celebration of Puthandu is associated with the spring season, which symbolizes new beginnings and the renewal of life. The festival is traditionally celebrated by decorating houses with flowers, drawing intricate kolams or rangolis at the entrance of houses, and preparing special dishes. People wear new clothes and offer prayers to the deities.

One of the main traditions of Puthandu is the preparation of the Pachadi, a dish made with neem flowers, jaggery, tamarind, mango, and other ingredients. The dish is said to symbolize the different flavors of life – sweet, sour, bitter, and tangy. The neem flowers represent bitterness, tamarind represents sourness, jaggery represents sweetness, and mango represents tanginess. Eating this dish on Puthandu is believed to symbolize the acceptance of all the flavors of life, including the bitter ones.

Mango Pachadi – SourceRecipe

On Puthandu, people also exchange gifts, visit friends and family, and participate in cultural events like music and dance performances. In Tamil Nadu, people gather in large numbers to watch the traditional processions called “Chithirai Thiruvizha,” which features decorated elephants and chariots carrying the idols of deities.

Puthandu is also marked by various cultural events and performances. In Tamil Nadu, people participate in dance and music performances, including the classical dance form of Bharatanatyam. The festival also sees the participation of musicians, who perform traditional Carnatic music, and theater artists, who stage plays and dramas.

Vadai with other dishes Source

Puthandu, the Tamil New Year, is celebrated with traditional Tamil dishes that are typically vegetarian and rich in flavor. Some of the special dishes made during Puthandu include:

  1. Maanga Pachadi: A sweet and sour dish made with raw mango, jaggery, neem flowers, and other ingredients. It is usually served as part of a traditional Puthandu meal.
  2. Payasam: A sweet dessert made with milk, sugar, and a variety of ingredients such as vermicelli, rice, or lentils. It is flavored with cardamom, saffron, and nuts.
  3. Medu Vada: A savory snack made with urad dal (black gram), onions, and spices. It is usually served with coconut chutney and sambar.
  4. Sambar: A spicy lentil-based soup that is flavored with tamarind, vegetables, and a blend of South Indian spices. It is typically served with rice or idli.
  5. Rasam: A tangy soup made with tamarind, tomatoes, and a blend of spices. It is typically served as a side dish with rice.
  6. Paruppu Thogayal: A chutney made with roasted lentils, coconut, and spices. It is typically served with rice and ghee.
  7. Poriyal: A vegetable side dish made with chopped vegetables such as beans, carrots, or cabbage, and flavored with mustard seeds, urad dal, and curry leaves.

These dishes are typically served on banana leaves as part of a traditional Puthandu meal. Families and friends gather together to enjoy these special dishes, which are an integral part of the Puthandu celebrations.

Other New Year Festivals of India:

Ugadi | Gudi Padwa |Baisakhi | Pana Sankranti

Vishu |Pohela Boishakh | Puthandu | Bihu

Sojibu Nongma Panba |Navroz

Other New year festivals in SE Asia:

Songkran | Thingyan |Chaul Chnam Thmey| Pi Mai

About... Festivals

What is Ugadi?

What is Ugadi?

Ugadi is a popular festival celebrated in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.

The word “Ugadi” is derived from two Sanskrit words “Yuga” meaning era or age, and “Adi” meaning beginning.

Ugadi marks the beginning of a new era or a new year, and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor.

The word “Ugadi” is derived from two Sanskrit words “Yuga” meaning era or age, and “Adi” meaning beginning.

When is this and other new year festivals celebrated in India?

Ugadi is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu lunar calendar month of Chaitra (March-April), which marks the beginning of the New Year according to the Hindu calendar.

So the date depends on a different cycle and can fall on different dates in the calendar. There is a resource which has the dates of ALL the holidays around n the world and the current dates.

Click here to find the date for this years Ugadi.

Click here to find out the dates for all the festivals and holidays in India.

How is Ugadi celebrated?

On this day, people wake up early in the morning, take a bath, and decorate their houses with mango leaves and rangolis.

Lord Brahma – the creator – Source

It is believed that Lord Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, started the creation of the universe on this day.They also offer prayers to Lord Brahma, and seek his blessings for a happy and prosperous new year.

Rangoli – or decorative designs
Ugadi Pachadi – Source

People prepare special dishes like Ugadi pachadi (a mixture of six different tastes -to remind us of the qualities of LIFE itself – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy, and tangy), pulihora (tamarind rice), bobbatlu (sweet stuffed bread), and other traditional delicacies.

Pulohora – Tamarind Rice Source
Bobbatlu or Puran Poli – Source

People also exchange gifts and sweets with each other and visit temples to offer their prayers.

The significance of Ugadi festival is both religious and cultural.

It marks the beginning of a new year and is considered an auspicious day to start new ventures and make important decisions.

Happy Ugadi
Happy Ugadi – Ugadi Subhakankshalu – Source

It also signifies the onset of spring and the harvest season, and people pray for a good crop and prosperity. On the religious front, the festival marks the beginning of the Vasant ritu (spring season) and is considered an auspicious time to start new ventures, such as business, education, and marriage.

In Karnataka, Ugadi is also known as “Yugadi” and it holds great significance in the state’s cultural and traditional heritage. On this day, people clean their houses and decorate them with fresh flowers and mango leaves, which are considered auspicious.

Bevu Bella prepared in Karnataka for Yugadi – Source

In some parts of Karnataka, people also perform the ritual of “Panchanga Shravana” where they listen to the predictions for the upcoming year according to the Hindu lunar calendar. The predictions are based on astrological calculations and are believed to give an insight into the future.

Panchangam is an astrological almanac used in South India to calculate auspicious timings and events according to the Hindu lunar calendar. (In the north it’s called Panchang)

Panchangam is closely related to the study of astronomical positions of stars, constellations, and planets. It is based on the positions of the moon and other planets in the solar system, as well as the 27 constellations or Nakshatras that the moon travels through during its revolution cycle around the earth.

The calculation of the Tithi, Nakshatra, Yoga, Karana, and Var (Panchangam means five limbs in Sanskrit) are all based on the positions of the moon, sun, and other celestial bodies in the solar system.

Read More about Panchangam Let’s take a look at the five parts of the Panchangam in more detail:

Tithi – A Tithi is a lunar day, which is calculated based on the position of the moon in relation to the sun. There are 30 Tithis in a lunar month, each lasting for approximately 24 hours. The Tithi is used to determine auspicious and inauspicious timings for various events, such as weddings, business deals, and other important activities.

Nakshatra – The Nakshatras are the 27 constellations that the moon travels through during its cycle. Each Nakshatra is associated with a specific set of characteristics and is believed to have a particular impact on human life. The Nakshatra is used to determine the most auspicious time for starting a new venture or undertaking a new project.

Yoga – The Yoga is the combination of the positions of the sun and the moon, and it is used to determine the auspicious and inauspicious timings for various activities, such as traveling, starting a new job, or buying a new home.

Karana – The Karana is a half Tithi, which is used to determine the most auspicious time for certain activities, such as cutting hair, trimming nails, and other personal grooming activities.

Var – The Var refers to the day of the week and is used to determine the auspicious and inauspicious timings for various activities, such as starting a new business, getting married, or signing a new contract.

The Panchangam is used by astrologers, priests, and individuals to determine the most auspicious timings for various activities and events in their lives. For example, if someone is planning to start a new business, they may consult the Panchangam to determine the most auspicious date and time for launching their venture.

It takes into account the day, time, and location to create a personalized calendar for a specific region or individual.

Another popular tradition on Ugadi in Karnataka is the “Huli Vesha” or the Tiger Dance, where people dress up in tiger costumes and dance to the beats of drums and other musical instruments.

Huli Vesha – Men dressed as Tigers (Huli) do the dance Source

The dance is believed to bring prosperity and good luck to the community.

Festive Traditional Vegetarian South Indian meal served on a banana leaf – Source

In Karnataka it’s celebrated on the same day as in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Learn more about all other new year festivals in India

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