So when’s the Tamil new year exactly?


Exactly 14 days back, I celebrated the English new year and tomorrow I’m waiting to celebrate the debatable Tamil new year. However, I’ve still not made up my mind whether to celebrate it the atheist way or the agnostic way. Pongal is considered to be the Tamil new year as per the agnostic’s as it is regarded as a special day for Tamil speaking community (aka Tamizhar thirunaal) and as per the atheists it’s on April 14th.

With these funny dramas all around, I decided to call the logical brain for help. What’s a new year exactly and why does that every state in India has 2 new years now and why exactly the oldest Tamil community now have 3 starting days for a year and what the hell am I supposed to do with 3 new years for just a year!

Scientifically speaking, a new year is ideally considered when the earth completes its rotation around the sun and the beginning of a new rotation from a certain starting point (based on latitude and longitude positions) occurs somewhere on the mid of Jan.

Logically speaking, a new year is nothing but a thing that’s makes a human mind get ready for the new future leaving aside the past. Sort of a logical conclusion to beat the boredom and that’s why we are so keen on taking new year resolutions. With this as a fact in place, Pongal just says that “Pazhayana kazhithalum pudthiyana puguthalam” – get rid of the past and make way for the new. This age old Tamil proverb just say that and we have a day called Boghi to celebrate this very thing.

We all are anyways aware that the current English calendar which is 2000 years old was based on the life of Jesus Christ and precisely a local Tamil calendar called Thiruvalluvar year (calculated on the basis of the famous poet Thiruvalluvar) also falls on the same time as Pongal.

However, putting aside the elaborate celebrations that we have the following days of Pongal (be it Manju viratu – a bull fight or meeting the friends and relatives). We don’t seem to have any such celebrations and occasions on any front for the new year that begins in April.

Even with so many logical points and rational thoughts aside, it’s still uncertain on how is it that all of a sudden we can change a thing of the past. After all, the ancestors invented this for a reason right? How can I attempt to go change this wonderful history just because somebody read some really old books and analyzed history to say this for a fact. It’s after all a tough fight between the mind and the heart right?

It’s ok that we have lost history since the beginning of time. But, really how can we still have doubts about deciding the date on which is the beginning of a new year. A new year isn’t just another day right! It’s a living library of sorts to preserve your past and record your present for just another day! I’m still wondering, how have we still not put our foot down to fixate on our very own new year and let it be a thing of the politicians to control. May be we will never change. It’s in our DNA. Let the ruler be a Ram or Raavan! It’s ok with us. C’mon, We have even let a wooden slipper rule us for ages! This too shall pass!

PS: Pongal is a Tamil festival that’s celebrated on the 15th of Jan. It’s celebrated for 4 days. 14th is Bhogi. The day where we actually burn the old items, clean and paint the houses. 15th is Pongal on which we pray to the Sun directly (who is the source of food). 16th is Mattu pongal the day when we celebrate the cows and bulls. 17th is Kanum pongal, the day when we seek the blessings of our elders in the family.