I wish my readers a happy Puthandu and Aluth Avurudda. It is India’s new year season. Each state has their own new year day. Today is an auspicious day of Puthandu (Tamil new year) and Aluth Avurudda (Sinhalese/Srilankan new year). Though are called by different names, Tamil and Srilankan new year falls on the same day, yet customs are a little different.
the Puthandu is the first day of Tamilian calender. The day of new beginnings. This day is celebrated with neem flowers and raw mangoes, which symbolize growth and prosperity. On the eve of Puthandu, a plateful of three fruits, including mango, banana and jackfruit, betel leaves, areca nuts, gold/silver jewelry, money, flowers, and a mirror are arranged. This plate is the first thing that people see in the morning after waking up. People wake up early in the morning, take bath first thing. The entrance of the house is sprinkled with saffron water. Intricate designs, designed by skilled women called kolam are drawn in front of the door. Visiting temples for good luck throughout the year is a tradition. They believe that god blessings bring happiness, growth, and prosperity in the new year.
In Sri Lanka, for Sinhalese, Aluth Avurudda begins with thoroughly cleaning their homes. Also home improvements such as painting, buying new furniture etc. Preparations start many days before the festival. Perishable snacks are prepared ahead and offered to family and friends. On the day of the Aluth Avurudda, the Sinhalese take a take head massage with auspicious oils. Then take the herbal bath. The juice made of neem leaves will be applied on the head by a senior Buddhist priest at the temple – or, if at home, an elderly relative – with blessings for health and longevity.