What is controversy over Tamil New Year?

  • Tamil people celebrate Tamil new year either on April 13 or 14. Every year in the month of Chitterai (the first month of the Tamil solar calendar in April), in the temple city of Madurai, the Chitterai Thiruvizha is celebrated in the Meenakshi Temple.
  • A huge exhibition is held, called Chitterai Porutkaatchi. In some parts of Southern Tamil Nadu, it is called Chitterai Vishu.
  • The day is marked with a feast in Tamil homes and entrances to the houses are decorated elaborately with kolams.
  • This day is celebrated by some communities with neem flowers and raw mangoes to symbolize growth and prosperity.
  • The erstehile DMK-led Government of Tamil Nadu declared in 2008 that the Tamil new year should be celebrated on the first day of Tamil month of Thai (January 14) coinciding with the harvest festival of Pongal.
  • The Government introduced the “Tamil Nadu New Year (Declaration Bill 2008)” in the state asembly in January 2008.
  • The new Government of Jayalalita has on August 23, 2011 got annuled this act by a separate act of legislation in the Tamil Nadu Assembly
  • Tamils in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and Canada had meanwhile continued to observe the new year in mid-April. Some people in Tamil Nadu continued the celebration of the new year in mid-April. The DMK led Government accommodated the popular sentiment by announcing the celebration of the April new year with a new term called “Chithirai Tirunal” (the festival of Chithirai)
  • The DMK Government had also introduced the Tiruvalluvar era that begins with the purported birth of the Tamil literary figure Tiruvalluvar in the year 31 BC. The literary evidence however may not indicate an early date for Tiruvalluvar.
  • The syntax and grammar may indicate a subsequent date. Renowned Tamil Scholar Vaiyapuri Pillai was of the view that Tiruvalluvar lived around 600 CE, based on the internal evidence of his work and the significant influence of Sanskrit, Prakrit and Pali works in the Tirukkural. Goverment of J.Jayalalitha reverted the celebration of Puthandu to the original date of 14 April. (wikipedia)

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