Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Puthandu / Tamil New Year / Tamil Varuda Pirapu

 Puthandu (Tamil: புத்தாண்டு), or better known as Tamil New Year, is the celebration of the first day of the Tamil new year in mid-April by Tamils in Tamil Nadu, in the Union_Territory of Puducherry in India, in Sri Lanka and by the Tamil population in Malaysia, Singapore, Reunion Island, Mauritius and elsewhere. People in the world greet each other on this day by saying Iniya Tamizh Puthaandu Nalvaazhthukkal (இனிய தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்). The festive occasion is in keeping with the Hindu lunar calendar.  This year it is celebrated on April 14th.

The first day of Chithirai Month is known as Puthandu. In 2011, it marks the beginning of Khara nama varusha (2011-2012).  As per beliefs, Lord Brahma created the universe and started the creation on the first day of Chithirai. In many temples special pujas and rituals marks the grand celebrations.

On the same day, Malayalam Astrological New Year (Vishu), Bengali New Year (Pohela Boishakh), Assamese New Year (Rongali Bihu), and Baisakhi (Sikh New Year) are also celebrated.

New Year is a meaningful time of celebration for families and friends throughout the world. It is a time for celebrating new and prosperous beginnings. Varusham is the Tamil word for "year", and Pirapu (pronunciation note: really roll your "r" when you pronounce these words) can be translated as the "birth" or "beginning" or "commencement" of an event.

The excitement begins about two weeks before the New Year. Families go shopping for new clothes. The house is thoroughly cleaned and even repainted at times. Mothers and grandmothers make loads of sweet and savory snacks in preparation for the big celebrations when relatives and friends will make their rounds of visits to each home, passing on their wishes for a prosperous and healthy, happy New Year. The schools are closed and the kids look forward to this time off. Children also remember the celebration of the New Year as time when their elders present them with money as a token of prosperity.

Mango Pachadi is a dish that my dear Amma makes on Tamizh Varusha Pirappu (Tamil New Year). She also taught me through phone yesterday that this has 5 different flavors to reflect that life, similarly, is a mix of happiness, success, disappointment, sadness etc. This pachadi therefore has sweetness from the jaggery, sourness from the mangoes, spiciness from the chillies, a bittter taste from the neem flowers and finally the saltiness.

I just love this pachadi usually as it was prepared by my amma and for the first time i'am trying out here in my home at  San Jose.  I usually eat bowlfuls by itself( as it was usually my amma's preparation) and I never knew this was so easy to make until I first made it a few min ago. I skipped the neemflowers because I don't get them here and also 'coz I'm not a big fan :)


Raw Mango - 1, peeled and shredded for my convenient as this is my first time and i really really wanted it to cook nicely :-)

Red Chillies : 2 ( If you are using green chillies take 5 according to your  taste and slit it vertically)
Jaggery - 4 - 5 tbsps, (crushed)

Water - approx 3/4 cup

Ginger - 1/2 inch piece, (i shredded this too)

Turmeric - 1/4 tsp

Mustard seeds - 1/3 tsp

Cumin seeds - 1/3 tsp

Curry leaves - few

Salt, to taste

Oil - 1/2 tsp


1) Heat oil in a pan and season with mustard, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Add ginger and green chillies. After a minute add the cut mango pieces and saute.

2) After about 3-4 minutes or so, add 3/4 cup of water, salt and turmeric. Cover and allow to cook until the mango pieces soften.

3) Add the crushed jaggery and mix until it dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly. Enjoy!

Source: My Amma and hindupad.


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