Puthandu, also known as Puthuvarudam or Varusha Pirappu, is a festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu and marks the beginning of Tamil New Year. Tamil Hindus of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry celebrate this festival with great joy and enthusiasm. People of Tamil diaspora outside India also celebrates the new year festival of Puthandu. On the occasion of Puthandu, people wear new clothes, exchange gifts and enjoy a grand feast with their friends and family. There are many specific traditions and rituals related to this festival as well. Let us know more details about Puthandu 2023 festival such as its significance, ritual and how it is celebrated from this article below.
Puthandu 2023 Date
Puthandu is the first day of Tamil month Chithirai and is also the first day of new year in the Tamil Hindu calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, this day falls on 14th of April every year. Thus, Puthandu 2023 will be celebrated on Thursday, April 14, 2023 and marks the starting of Tamil Shaka Samvata 1944. 14 April is observed as new year in other parts of India as well but is known by other names such as Vishu in Kerala, Vaisakhi or Baisakhi in central and northern India, Bihu in Assam, etc.
Puthandu is observed as a public holiday in the state of Tamil Nadu and all public offices remain close on this day. Other than this, banks, schools and many private offices also grant a day off on the occasion of Puthandu.
Significance of Puthandu Festival
Puthandu marks the beginning of a new year that brings new hopes and dreams and is celebrated with high pomp and excitement by the people. On this day, people clean their houses, wear new clothes and visit temples to offer prayers to god on the first day of the year and seek their blessings. Puthandu is also celebrated as the day on which Brahma created the universe.
On the occasion of Puthandu, people wake up early in the morning and clean and decorate their houses. Entrance of homes are decorated with colored rice powder and flowers that are called as kolams. They take a bath and get dressed in their best clothes and seek blessings of their elders. Visiting temples to get blessings from the gods is also a famous tradition of the Puthandu festival. People meet their friends and other family members and greet each other by saying Puthandu Vaazhthugal or Iniya Puthandu Nalvaazhthugal, meaning happy new year. In Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, the festival called Chitterai Thiruvizha is celebrated and a huge exhibition called Chitterai Porutkaatchi is held on the day of Puthandu. On the day of Puthandu, an annual Chariot Festival is also held at Tiruvidaimarudur.
The day before Puthandu, i.e., on Puthandu eve, people decorate a tray, same as Vishukanni decorated in the Vishu festival. This tray comprises of three kinds of fruits (mango, banana and jack fruit), betel leaves, jewelry, money and flowers and place in the temple room in their house in front of a mirror. Now, as per the tradition, on the day of Puthandu, the first thing that people should see is the reflection of this tray in the mirror
It is a tradition to prepare a special dish called Mangai-pachadi on the day of Puthandu, similar to tradition of Ugadi. The dish is made from jaggery, mustard, raw mango, neem, and red chilies and comprises of all flavors- sweet, sour, tangy, bitter, hot and salty. The different favors symbolizes the different experiences of life and reminds that life is a journey that comes with every type of experience. Other delicacies are also prepared on Puthandu and a grand meal is enjoyed by the whole family on the night of this festival.
Festivals similar to Puthandu
Other than India, Puthandu is celebrated in countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Reunion, Mauritius, etc. Puthandu is also celebrated in other states in India under different names with every festival marking the beginning of a new year. Some of these festivals are mentioned as follows:
- Vishu in Kerala
- Vaisakhi in central and north India
- Pohela Sankranti in Odisha
- Pohela Boishakh in West Bengal and Tripura (Bangladesh too)
- Rongali Bihu in Assam
- Bikram Samwat or Vaishak Ek in Nepal
- Aluth Avuruthu in Sri Lanka (Sinhalese New Year)
14th April 2023