Chithirai Tiru-naal, Puthandu, Tamil New Year, Varusha pirappu

Tamil people celebrate their new year on the first day of month Chithirai. This day is also known as Varusha pirappu. solar calender is fallowed in Tamil Nadu. All the months in tamil calender starts on sankrati day. If the sankraman time comes before sunset the month/year begins on the same day. If Sankraman time comes after sunset then the month/year begins on the next day. This Sankranti is known as Mesha Sankranthi. However sankranti time is auspicious for performing Sankranthi related activities like Dan and Punya.

Puthandu 2016 Date

Chittirai is the first month of the Tamil solar calendar. Tamil New year celebrated on the first day of this month known as Puthandu /Varusha pirappu. Everyone wants to start first day of the year with happines, excitement and celebrations. This year (2016), the date of Varsha Pirappu (Puthandu) or Tamil New Year is on Wednesday, April 13.

Significance of Puthandu

The Tamil New Year is observed on the basis of surya siddanta (vernal equinox). It generally observed on 14th april every year. This day is also observed as mesha sankranti due to Sun’s transition into Aries (Mesha Rasi). New year is observed on same day in other parts of India like in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Manipur, Mithila, Odisha, Punjab, Tripura. Some other countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka and Thailand also observe the New year on same day.

In the early Tamil literature, there are several mentions about New year, i.e celebrated on the first day of the Chittirai.

  • In the 3rd century, Nakkirar, the author of the Nedunalvaadai referred that the Sun travels from Mesha/Chittirai through 11 successive Rasis. Another mention in the 3rd century is that, Kūdalūr Kizhaar refered Chittirai as the start of the year in the Purananoru.
  • The Manimekalai refered to the Hindu solar calendar that we are fallowing it today.
  • The oldest Tamil grammar Tolkaapiyam divides the year into six seasons where Chitterai marks the start of the Ilavenil season or summer.
  • In the 8th century Silapadikaram mentions the 12 Rasis starting with Mesha/Chitterai.T Adiyarkunalaar, an early medieval commentator (Urai-asiriyar) mentioned the same.


On the puthandu day, the doorways are garlanded with mango leaves and entrances of the houses are drawn with ‘kolam’. People wear new cloths and light a traditional lamp, the kuthu vilakku, and fill nirai-kudum (a brass bowl embellished with mango leaves) while chanting prayers. They believe it to be an auspicious day for new and prosperous beginnings.

A major event of the Tamil New Year is the ‘Kanni’. On the eve of Tamil new year (Puthandu), a tray arranged with three fruits (mango,banana and jack fruit), betel leaves and arecanut, gold/silver coins, flowers and a mirror. This is to be viewed upon waking in the morning is as ‘Kanni’ ritual. A legend says that viewing auspicious things on this day will bring good fortune throughout the year.

After viewing the Kanni, people do ritual bath and perform Panchanga Puja. They take meal with pachadi – a mixture of jaggery, chillies, salt, neem leaf or flowers, and tamarind. This mixture taste entails different colors of life. They also take payasam as part of the meal.

In the evening they listen to Panchang to know about their fortunes throughout the year.They visit temples meet friends and relatives, greet each other by saying

Puthandu Vazthukal  புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள்

Iniya Tamizh Puthandu Nalvaazhthukkal (இனிய தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்)


In 2008, the DMK Government of Tamil Nadu had officially made thai Pongal, the Tamil New Year. This government introduced the Tiruvalluvar era that begins with the  birth of the Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar in the year 31 BCE.This decision was reverted by the AIADMK government in 2011. Irrespective of these decisions Varsha Pirappu/Puthandu is marked as the new year in most Tamil Calendars.

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