Tamil new year day was celebrated with the usual fervor on the 14 th of April this year
A traditional meal consisting of the sweet [ jaggery] laced with the bitter [ neem flowers] is made on this day to symbolise life as it is-a homogenous mixture of pain and pleasure.
Vishu was also celebrated on the same day [ I am told by some that it was on the 15 th-] by Malayalam speaking Indians.
Elsewhere in India,Punjabi speaking Indians celebrated a new year day too around this time.
I came to know that the Bengali New Year [ Poila Baisakh] was celebrated on the 15 th of April this year.
On the 14 th of April, the Sun entered the Mesha [ Aries] Rasi [the first Rasi in the list of 12 Rasis[ constellations]today as it has done for ages.
Tamil speakers , like their Malayalam speaking, Bengali speaking and Punjabi speaking brethren ,follow a solar calendar.
From what little I know of calendars and almanacs, it makes sense to take this day as the first day of the Tamil year as Mesha is the first of the 12 constellations we consider for a rasi chakra .
The first three [ two and a quarter to be exact] of the 27 stars [ Aswini , Bharani and the first pada of Kritika] fall under the Mesha Rasi and this year on the 14 th of April, the new month of Chitra fell on the star Bharani.
I don’t know what this means as far as future predictions are concerned, but the name of the new Tamil year [ Vikruti] sounds a lot better than the name of the previous one [ Virodhi].
The almanac that most Tamil speakers follow is called the Vakya Panchangam [ popularly called as the Pambu panchangam [as this book features the picture of a snake on the cover] while some in TN follow the Drik Ganitha Panchangam.
On cursory reading, the almanac predicts good rains this year. Lets hope the water doesn’t go waste , instead gets conserved as it should be.
There was a Governmental move to change the new year celebrations including the reading of almanacs [ Panchangams] traditionally done in TN temples on this day to the 14 th of January [Makara Sankranthi – Pongal day].
Just as the fact that our parents would be our parents no matter what Government orders are passed, traditional festivals too cannot be changed by G.O.s.
I am late in saying this but here’s wishing all a very happy, rainful, bountiful and peaceful Vikruti!
More posts by this author:
- The Significance of September 5
- Anandam Paramanandam
- Mantras , Jai Hind and Vande Mataram
- ITS Issues-Ferrous Oxide And Flights Of Fancy
- The Temple at Thanjavur