Other festivals, too.

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at cco.caltech.edu
Wed Apr 2 21:45:19 UTC 1997

On Wed, 2 Apr 1997, Peter J. Claus wrote:

> The recent question about the date Mahashivaratri is now celebrated
> reminds me that I have been meaning to ask if someone could give a
> difinitive date for when the new year begins in Tamilnad. Is it, as one of
> my friends claims, ALWAYS on April 14th?  Ie. a fixed calendrical date?
> And THAT date in particular?  Is there not (as there is in Karnataka)
> several different New Year dates, depending on the tradition ones
> community follows?

There are two calenders usually followed in Tamil Nadu. The Tamil New Year
is on the 13th or 14th of April, not always on the 14th. Tamil and
Malayalam speakers celebrate this New Year day as 'vishu'. This date is
solar, like Makara Sankranti (same day as the Tamil Pongal festival), and
is therefore more or less fixed. The lunar calender that is followed
elsewhere in India is also used in Tamil Nadu, but only for religious
purposes. Thus, birth and death anniversaries are reckoned according to
lunar calculation, with the lunar new year beginning on the day of
ugAdi (Kannada, Telugu)/guDi paDvA (Marathi). Adding to the confusion,
Tamilians begin the month of cittirai on the Tamil New year day
(mid-April), which often runs concurrently with the lunar month of

S. Vidyasankar

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