Keeping up

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with the cultural values or for that matter traditional values are something I am keen but I am not up to the mark and we have been implementing a lot of it recently. Today is Tamil New Year and we started off with prayers at home. What preceded it was a Rangoli session, which Yuvan has taken interest in helping me ever since last Diwali. He likes to fill it up with colours. Ever since last Vinyakar Chathurthi he has been willing and interested to do part of the prayers and he did so today too!

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Puthandu (Tamil: புத்தாண்டு), or better known as Tamil New Year or Chithirai Tiru-naal, is the celebration of the first day of the Tamil new year    It is a time for celebrating new and prosperous beginnings. The 14th of April is the beginning of the first month Chittirai of the Tamil year (Vijaya year), which is celebrated as the New Year and is also known as “Chittirai Vishu”. Varusham is the Tamil word for “year” and ‘Pirapu’ can be translated as the “birth” or “beginning” or “commencement” of an event. The festive occasion is in keeping with the Hindu Solar Calendar.

According to Hindu mythology, on this day the Creator of the world Lord Brahma started creation. So what is generally done back home in India on Tami New Year Day?

  • House is thoroughly cleaned and doors and windows are decorated with festoons – especially leaves of mango.
  • After bathing, the eldest female member in the family starts the Puja arrangement.
  • Kolam or Rangoli is drawn; the Vilakku Kolam is the preferred one during the New Year.( Vilaku kolam is nothing but a kolam or Rangoli where lamps are drawn in different designs.)
  • If new clothes are distributed to family members, then it is arranged in front of the deity.
  • Neem leaf Pachadi is prepared. It is basically a mixture of jaggery, chillies, salt, neem leaf or flowers and tamarind. It symbolizes that life is a mixture of sweet and sour.
  • In places where Kanni is viewed, an elderly member guides others to the view the arrangement of auspicious things. This arrangement is usually done on the previous night.
  • In other places, all members wake up and take bath and receive new clothes.

Reference:- Wikipedia, http://www.hindublog.com

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I still can very much recollect the ‘neem flowers in Banana’, which we were supposed to eat on empty stomach at the temple on Telugu new Year which falls just a few days earlier. It is believed that it would cleanse the system as well the evils and make way for new beginnings!!! It used to be that we always visit my granny’s house, then the temple along with granny on the New Year’s Day. The neem flowers in banana was always served by granny, followed by a sumptuous meal at granny’s place.

Today’s temple visit was a contented one with Yuvan learning a few important things in temple, all because of his curious questions! And as per the tradition it has been a vegetarian meal at home!!!

I believe these little things will serve as a window to the culture, tradition and much more!

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