குமரிநாடு.நெற்

தமிழை அறிவோம்..தமிழரை அறிவோம்..பழமைமிக்க தமிழ்ப்பண்பாட்டை அறிவோம்..

திருவள்ளுவர் ஆண்டு - 2051

இன்று 2020, ஆடி(கடகம்) 10 ம் திகதி வெள்ளிக் கிழமை .

FESTIVALS OF THE TAMIL PEOPLE Tamil New Year Day - First of Thai Nadesan Satyendr

16.04.கி.ஆ2012தமிழாண்ட2043-Abstract: "... It should not surprise that those who would destroy the Tamils as a nation of people are intent on keeping the Tamils divided by caste, race and 'religion' - and sometimes by an appeal to a pseudo 'modernism'. One World for the Tamils - and 'our nation' for all the member states of the United Nations....to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, yes, by all means let us open our windows to the world but let us not be blown off our feet. The unity of the Tamil people will not be built by a shallow modernism which ignores our language, our heritage and our cultural roots... And though I write this in English, the unity of the Tamil people will not be built by English speaking Tamils speaking to each other in English.

 

" For many the pursuit of the material life is a necessity...They rightly strive to secure it and it must be our aim and the aim of all who are just and wise to assist in that effort. But many have got more than is required and are free, if they choose, to devote themselves more completely to cultivating the things of the mind and, in particular, those that make us out as a distinct nation. The first of these latter is the national language. It is for us what no other language can be. It is our very own... It is more than a symbol, it is an essential part of our nationhood. It has been moulded by the thought of a hundred generations of our forebears. In it is stored the accumulated experience of a people... A vessel for three thousand years of our history, the language is for us precious beyond measure... To part with it would be to abandon a great part of ourselves, to loose the key to our past, to cut away the roots from the tree. With the language gone we could never again aspire to being more than half a nation..." On Language & the Irish Nation - Eamon de Valera, 1943

 

The unity of the Tamil people will be built by Tamil speaking Tamils speaking to each other in Tamil. And it is that unity that will continue to grow in the years to come... The Tamil national identity is a secular identity - and the Tamil New Year reflects that secular identity. The Tamil nation includes not only Hindus (both Saivaites and Vaishnavites) but also Tamils belonging to many different faiths. Christian Tamils are also Tamils. Brahmin Tamils are also Tamils. Dalit Tamils some of who may be Buddhists are also part of the Tamil nation. The Tamil nation also includes those who regard themselves as atheists and agnostics... A nation is a deep and horizontal togetherness which cuts across vertical divisions

 

"A nation is... imagined as a community, because regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep horizontal comradeship. Ultimately, it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly to die for such limited imaginings." *Benedict Anderson: Imagined Communities - Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, 1991

And the Tamil nation is a growing horizontal togetherness –

 

... of more than 80 million Tamil people, living in many lands and across distant seas - a growing togetherness rooted in a shared heritage, a rich language and literature, and a vibrant culture - a growing togetherness consolidated by the heroic struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam for freedom from alien Sinhala rule and given fresh impetus by the digital revolution - a growing togetherness given purpose and direction by a determined will to live in equality, in freedom and in peace with their fellow beings and meaningfully contribute to an emerging one world, unfolding from matter to life to mind ... "

 

________________________________________

 

Both Mr.Sanmugam Sabesan (from Australia) and Mr.Velupillai Thangavelu (from Canada) are right to point out that the Tamil New Year is the First of Thai (which is also Thai Pongal day) and that in 2008 this Tamil New Year day received legislative sanction in Tamil Nadu. The Tamil national identity is a secular identity - and the Tamil New Year reflects that secular identity.

 

The Tamil nation includes not only Hindus (both Savaites and Vaishnavites) but also Tamils belonging to many different faiths. Christian Tamils are also Tamils. Brahmin Tamils are also Tamils. Brahmin Tamils are also Tamils. Dalit Tamils some of who may be Buddhists are also part of the Tamil nation. The Tamil nation also includes those who regard themselves as atheists and agnostics.

It is not that the Saivaite saints have not contibuted to the growth of the Tamil national identity. They have. It is not that the Vaishanavite alwars are not a part of the Tamil heritage. They are. It is not that Ramalingam Atikal affectionately known as Vallalar is not a part of the Tamil heritage. He is. It is not that Brahmin Tamils such as U.V.Swaminatha Iyer (known as 'Thamil Thaatha') did not contribute to the growth of Tamil togetherness. They did. At the same time Periyar, a rationalist and an aethist has also contributed to the growth of Tamil national consciousness - so too has C.N.Annadurai. So too did Mahakavi Bharathiar -

 

" சொல்லடி, சிவசக்தி - எனைச்

சுடர்மிகும் அறிவுடன் படைத்து விட்டாய்

வல்லமை தாராயோ ? – இந்த

மாநிலம் பயனுற வாழ்வதற்கே....."

 

Again a Christian Tamil, S.J.V.Chelvanayagam contributed to the growth of the Tamil identity in Tamil Eelam. And Velupillai Pirabakaran by his steadfast commitment to the creation of a secular independent Tamil Eelam has given a sense of dignity and thanmaanam to millions of Tamils living in many lands and across distant seas. All this is part of the growth of the secular Tamil national identity.

 

"The New Year is a cultural event. The New Year is an event that happens when a culture celebrates the end of one year and the beginning of the next year. Cultures that measure yearly calendars all have New Year celebrations." (Anthony Aveni, Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology at Colgate University in "Happy New Year. But Why Now?" in The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays - Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, 11-28.)

In the Western world,

 

"(New Year's Day) originally observed on March 15 in the old Roman Calendar,... first came to be fixed in January 1, 153 BC, when the two Roman consuls, after whom - in the Roman calendar - years were named and numbered, began to be chosen on that date, for military reasons." (New Year's Day in Wikipedia).

And that was 153 years before the Birth of Christ. Indeed, the early Catholic Church condemned the festivities as paganism.

 

".. the early Catholic Church condemned the festivities as paganism...During the Middle Ages, the Church remained opposed to celebrating New Years. January 1 has been celebrated as a holiday by Western nations for only about the past 400 years..." (New Year's Day - History, Traditions, and Customs)

 

The Tamil New Year on First of Thai is not a 'Christian' new year. Nor is it a 'Saivaite' or 'Vaishnavite' new year. The Tamil New Year on First of Thai is a secular event. That is the Dravidian Tamil legacy. It is a legacy which needs to be secured in our fight for national existence.

 

".. It is the fight for national existence which sets culture moving and opens to it the doors of creation... " Frantz Fanon at the Congress of Black African Writers, 1959

 

It is not that Hindu Tamils should not celebrate the Hindu New Year in April. But when we suggest that the Tamil New Year is the April Hindu New Year we join hands with those who would (knowingly or unknowingly) divide the Tamil nation, undermine its secular unity and weaken its growth.

Again those who knowingly or unknowingly choose to conflate the First of Thai with the day of the Sankranthi festival (the day that Adi Sankara reportedly took sanyasa) choose to ignore the fact the Tamil nation includes those who are not followers of Adi Sankara. They choose to ignore the fact that the First of Thai is celebrated by many Tamil people as the birthday of Thiruvalluvar and that the Tamil year is named as the Valluvar Aandu.

"In order to have a continuous year count, the birth day of Thiruvalluvar was taken as falling on Thai (Suravam) first. This was given effect by the TN government in 1971 in official calendars, from 1972 in gazettes and from 1981 in all departments. Later it was extended to non-governmental departments as well."

 

Velupillai Thangavelu, in 'Response to those few who oppose Thai first as the Tamil New Year', 17 April 2008

 

Again, those who confuse the Tamil New Year on First of Thai with the Thai Pongal harvest festival on the same day choose to ignore the significance of the Tamil Nadu government's declaration of 23 January 2008 that "...the people of Tamil Nadu, who now celebrate Pongal as the festival of Tamils, can now celebrate it as Tamil New Year day also with redoubled joy." Both the Tamil New Year and Thai Pongal fall on the same day and therefore that day may be celebrated with redoubled joy.

 

Those who confuse the Tamil New Year on First of Thai with the Thai Pongal harvest festival on the same day, choose to ignore the secular significance of the Valluvar Aandu. And in their confusion they speak of Tamils being not simply farmers (who celebrate harvest festivals) - and that Tamils were also sea farers. They speak of the modern age in which we live. Yes, Tamils are not simply farmers. They were also seafarers. Yes, we live in a modern age. And Tamils are today playing a significant role in a global digital renaissance.

 

"..The print revolution brought Tamil from the ola leaves to paper, from the select few literati to the many. The digital revolution is bringing Tamil from paper to the computer and the internet. Swaminathatha Iyer and Thamotherampillai heralded the Tamil renaissance in the 19th century. Today, a Tamil digital renaissance is taking place - and is helping to bring Tamil people together not simply culturally but also in political and economic terms..." Nadesan Satyendra, May 1998

 

And to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, yes, by all means let us open our windows to the world but let us not be blown off our feet. The unity of the Tamil people will not be built by a shallow modernism which ignores our language, our heritage and our cultural roots. And though I write this in English, the unity of the Tamil people will not be built by English speaking Tamils speaking to each other in English.

 

"As children, we read in the Hitopodesa that at night birds from all directions would gather on a shimul tree on the banks of the Godavari. Why? To cackle for a while and then go off to sleep. Cackle in this context means to discuss the politics of the birdworld. We, too, in this dark, night time of India's history go to the Congress meet to cackle for three or four days and then snore. We can cackle together because, thanks to the education conferred by the British, we all have the same dialect. I am not saying that this dialect is all that our lips utter or our minds. All I want to suggest is that behind the Congress patriotism, there is only one kind of mind and that mind is bred on English text books. We all have that kind of mind, but under it is the mind which is individual for all nations and different from nation to nation. And our civilisation will emerge from the depth of that mind." For Province, Read Nation - Pramatha Chauduri. 1920

 

" For many the pursuit of the material life is a necessity...They rightly strive to secure it and it must be our aim and the aim of all who are just and wise to assist in that effort. But many have got more than is required and are free, if they choose, to devote themselves more completely to cultivating the things of the mind and, in particular, those that make us out as a distinct nation. The first of these latter is the national language. It is for us what no other language can be. It is our very own... It is more than a symbol, it is an essential part of our nationhood. It has been moulded by the thought of a hundred generations of our forebears. In it is stored the accumulated experience of a people... A vessel for three thousand years of our history, the language is for us precious beyond measure... To part with it would be to abandon a great part of ourselves, to loose the key to our past, to cut away the roots from the tree. With the language gone we could never again aspire to being more than half a nation..." On Language & the Irish Nation - Eamon de Valera, 1943

 

To suggest that the unity of the Tamil people will be built by English speaking Tamils speaking to each other in English is to engage the politics of the birdworld. The unity of the Tamil people will be built by Tamil speaking Tamils speaking to each other in Tamil. And it is that unity that will continue to grow in the years to come.

 

The Tamil New Year on the First of Thai firmly roots our feet in the richness of the Tamil cultural heritage - the cultural and literary heritage of Thirukural and Thiruvalluvar.

 

It should not surprise that those who would destroy the Tamils as a nation of people are intent on keeping the Tamils divided by caste, race and 'religion' - and also by an appeal to pseudo 'modernism'. One World for the Tamils - and 'our nation' for all the member states of the United Nations including Sri Lanka..

 

That Sinhala Sri Lanka promotes the 13th of April as the Tamil New Year whilst its armed forces kill and maim Tamils in Tamil Eelam is therefore understandable - understandable as a twin track approach in its genocidal programme to destroy the Tamils as a people. Less understandable are the views promoted by tamilnet.com.

A nation is a deep and horizontal togetherness which cuts across vertical divisions –

 

"A nation is an imagined political community... It is imagined as a community, because regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep horizontal comradeship. Ultimately, it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly to die for such limited imaginings." *Benedict Anderson: Imagined Communities - Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, 1991

 

And the Tamil nation is a growing horizontal togetherness –

 

... of more than 80 million Tamil people, living in many lands and across distant seas - a growing togetherness rooted in a shared heritage, a rich language and literature, and a vibrant culture - a growing togetherness consolidated by the heroic struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam for freedom from alien Sinhala rule and given fresh impetus by the digital revolution - a growing togetherness given purpose and direction by a determined will to live in equality, in freedom and in peace with their fellow beings and meaningfully contribute to an emerging one world, unfolding from matter to life to mind ... "

 

It is important therefore that Tamils as a people, wherever they may live, pay heed not only to the stand taken by the Tamil Nadu government and the unanimous will of the Tamil Nadu State Assembly but also to the views of Maraimalai Adikal, Naavalar Somasundera Bharathiar, Prof. Parithimaakalaignar (Prof. Surya Narayana Shastri) K.Subramaniapillai, Thiru V.Kalyanasundera Mudaliyar, Saivite scholar Sachchithanadapillai, Naavalar Na.Mu. Venkatasamy, K.R.P.Visvanatham and to the words of Paventhar Bharathidasan –

 

"தையே முதற்றிங்கள் தை முதலே ஆண்டு முதல்

பத்தன்று நூறன்று பன்னூ றன்று

பல்லாயி ரத்தாண்டாய்த் தமிழர் வாழ்வில்

புத்தாண்டு, தைம் முதல் நாள், பொங்கல் நன்னாள்

நித்திரையில் இருக்கும் தமிழா!

சித்திரை அல்ல உனக்குத் தமிழ்ப் புத்தாண்டு

அண்டிப் பிழைக்க வந்த ஆரியக் கூட்டம் காட்டியதே

அறிவுக்கு ஒவ்வாத அறுபது ஆண்டுகள்

 

தரணி ஆண்ட தமிழர்க்கு

தை முதல் நாளே தமிழ்ப் புத்தாண்டு." - புரட்சிக் கவிஞர் பாரதிதாசன்

 

It was the same Bharathidasan who sang -

இன்பத் தமிழ்

தமிழுக்கும் அமுதென்று பேர். - அந்தத்

தமிழ் இன்பத் தமிழ்எங்கள் உயிருக்கு நேர்.

தமிழுக்கு நிலவென்று பேர். - இன்பத்

தமிழ் எங்கள் சமுகத்தின் விளைவுக்கு நீர்.

தமிழுக்கு மணமென்று பேர். - இன்பத்

தமிழ் எங்கள் வாழ்வுக்கு நிருமித்த ஊர்.

தமிழுக்கு மதுவென்று பேர். - இன்பத்

தமிழ் எங்கள் உரிமைச்செம் பயிருக்கு வேர்.

 

தமிழ் எங்கள் இளமைக்குப் பால். - இன்பத்

தமிழ் நல்ல புகழ்மிக்க புலவர்க்கு வேல்.

தமிழ் எங்கள் உயர்வுக்கு வான். - இன்பத்

தமிழ் எங்கள் அசதிக்குச் சுடர்தந்த தேன்.

தமிழ் எங்கள் அறிவுக்குத் தோள். - இன்பத்

தமிழ் எங்கள் கவிதைக்கு வயிரத்தின் வாள்.

தமிழ் எங்கள் பிறவிக்குத் தாய். - இன்பத்

தமிழ் எங்கள் வளமிக்க உளமுற்ற தீ.

 

 

Tamil Nadu Government declares Thai Pongal as Tamil New Year Day, Statesman News Service, 23 January 2008

 

CHENNAI, Jan. 23: Fulfilling a long time demand of Tamil scholars, Tamil Nadu government would declare the Pongal Day - the cultural festival of Tamils, as Tamil New Year Day, Governor Mr Surjit Singh Barnala today announced in the Assembly. What is now celebrated as Tamil New Year Day falls in the month of April.

 

In his address at the commencement of the seventh session of the Assembly, the Governor said that the decision was taken in view of the consensus among Tamil scholars that the first day of the Tamil month, Thai, was the first day of the Tamil year. At present, Tamil New Year Day is celebrated as per a calendar, which names all the 60 years, that comes in a cycle, in Sanskrit. The move is also in accordance with the policy of the Dravidian movement, which aims to remove traces of Brahminical culture and revive Tamil culture.

 

Governor's Address in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly , 23rd January 2008

"In 1921, over 500 scholars under the leadership of the great scholar and founder of ‘Thani Tamil Iyakkam’, Thiru Maraimalai Adigalar had met in Pachaiyappa’s College at Chennai and had decided that Tamils need a separate calendar and a new calendar in the name of Saint Thiruvalluvar could be followed and this would constitute the ‘Tamil Year’. They also determined that the birth year of Thiruvalluvar was 31 BC.

 

This decision was accepted by Hon’ble Chief Minister Kalaignar even as early as 37 years ago and it was ordered to be followed in the Government Diary from 1971 and the Government Gazette from 1972. In view of the consensus amongst almost all Tamil Scholars that the first day of the month of Thai, is the first day of the Tamil year, this Government has decided to declare 1st Thai as the Tamil New Year day.

 

Therefore, the people of Tamil Nadu, who now celebrate Pongal as the festival of Tamils, can now celebrate it as Tamil New Year day also with redoubled joy. On this day let the people of this State plant trees bearing the ‘Mukkani’ fruits of banana, mango and jackfruit; draw colourful Kolams; decorate their houses with array of lamps showing them in new splendour; wearing new clothes sing and dance in praise of Tamil pride and self respect; spread the message of equality and shower their love and joy."

 

Bill on new Tamil New Year Day passed, 1 February 2008

A Bill declaring the first day of the Tamil month 'Thai' as the Tamil New Year day was unanimously passed in the Tamil Nadu State Assembly today. The Tamil Nadu Tamil New Year (Declaration Bill 2008) was introduced in the House by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on January 29 and it was passed unanimously today. Earlier, members of various political parties lauded the Chief Minister for introducing the Bill. According to the statement of objects and reasons of the Tamil Nadu Tamil New Year (Declaration) Act 2008, the Governor in his address to the House had announced that in view of the consensus amongst almost all Tamil scholars that the first day of the month of Thai is the first day of the Tamil year, the Government had decided to declare the first day of Thai as the Tamil New Year Day.

 

 

The Bill seeks to give effect to the above decision, it said and added that the Tamil Year would commence on the first day of Tamil month 'Thai' and end with the last day of Tamil month "Margazhi'. Hitherto, the first day of Tamil month of "Chithirai" had been celebrated as Tamil New Year Day. It may be recalled that Mr Karunanidhi, while participating in the final day festivities of Chennai Sangamam, announced that the First day of Tamil Month "Thai" would be celebrated as Tamil New year and that the Government would bring in a Legislation in this regard.

 

After the Governor made an announcement to this effect in his customary address to the House, the Government introduced the Bill and it was passed today.

 

 

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi calls on World Tamils to celebrate

first day of Tamil month Thai as Tamil New Years Day, 10 February 2008 The Hindu

“The change marks the rise and revolution of Tamils.”

 

நித்திரையில் இருக்கும் தமிழா!

சித்திரை அல்ல உனக்குத் தமிழ்ப் புத்தாண்டு

அண்டிப் பிழைக்க வந்த ஆரியக் கூட்டம் காட்டியதே

அறிவுக்கு ஒவ்வாத அறுபது ஆண்டுகள்

தரணி ஆண்ட தமிழர்க்கு

தை முதல் நாளே தமிழ்ப் புத்தாண்டு" புரட்சிக் கவிஞர் பாரதிதாசன்

 

CHENNAI: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi called upon Tamils all over the world to celebrate the first day of the Tamil month Thai, which has been declared the Tamil New Year Day, like Deepavalli.

 

Noting that he was proud and delighted to make the change, he said: “It marks the rise and revolution of Tamils.”

 

Thanking a large gathering of Tamil scholars who approved his Tamil New Year Day announcement, Mr. Karunanidhi said people must consider it a happy occasion and celebrate it by lighting ‘deepams’, drawing ‘kolams’ and wearing new dress.

 

He recalled his contribution to the introduction of a continuous calendar, in the form of Thiruvalluvar Year, for Tamils and said he had no ill-will or hatred towards the months and years based on the Sanskrit calendar.

 

The Chief Minister commended Minister for Public Works Department and Law Duraimurugan and former MP Jagathratchaan for having brought Tamil scholars from various parts of the State and abroad to grace the function, and said he considered their presence as recognition for Thai as the first month of the Tamil calendar.

 

Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan said the non-discriminatory Tamil community almost lost its identity and was on the verge of losing its language when visionary scholars restored the language. Now, though the language was there, a genuine sense of belonging was lacking.

 

Reminding the Tamils of their rich linguistic, ethnic and cultural heritage, Mr. Anbazhagan said the Tamils must be liberated from false beliefs that made them celebrate certain other days as New Year Day.

 

Earlier, the Tamil scholars said Mr. Karunanidhi had made three major contribution to the Tamil community: his success in obtaining classical language status for Tamil; his role in bringing out legislation making Tamil a compulsory language and medium of instruction in schools; and making the first day of Thai the Tamil New Year Day. This, they said, was the renaissance period of Tamil language.

 

Mr. Karunanidhi was treated to a song-and-dance performance. Artists, dressed up as Tholkappiar, Ilango Adigal, Avvayar, Kambar and Tiruvalluvar, showered accolades on him.

 

 

________________________________________

 

 

 

Response to those few who oppose Thai first as the Tamil New Year - V.Thangavelu, President Thamil Creative Writers Association, Canada, 17 April 2008 [see also Sanmugam Sabesan - சித்திரையில் தமிழ்ப் புத்தாண்டா? ]

Opposition has been voiced by a small number of individuals against the change in the birth of Thamil New Year. They claim the change is against tradition and borders on blasphemy. Such people are superficial and naïve in many ways.

 

The opposition can be seen as an ad hominem argument – you cannot fault an argument, so you fault the person advancing it. In this instance Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi. He is reviled by pseudo Hindu bigots like Thuglak Cho, Ramagopalan, Ela Ganesan (BJP) Ms Jayalalithaa (ADMK MLAs voted for the bill) and few others as anti-Hindu.

 

Strangely, the editor of the TamilNet website also joined the anti-nationalist forces to whip up frenzy against the change - thus making a mockery of the decision of the de facto state of Thamil Eelam that endorsed Thai first as the Thamil New Year.

 

 

The Thamil Nadu government gave legal status to the observation of Thai first (January 14th) as the beginning of Thamil New Year which will be called Thiruvalluvar Aandu.

 

In an unprecedented act of solidarity, the bill was unanimously passed by the TN State legislature.

 

The accusation that the TN government has arbitrarily and suddenly made the change in regard to the New Year is not supported by facts... Thamils need a continuous year count. They need to discard foreign culture and beliefs imposed on them under the guise of religion.

 

Way back in 1921 Thamil scholars like Maraimalai Adikal, Naavalar Somasundera Bharathiar, Prof. Parithimaakalaignar (Prof. Surya Narayana Shastri) K.Subramaniapillai, Thiru V.Kalyanasundera Mudaliyar, Saivite scholar Sachchithanadapillai, Naavalar Na.Mu. Venkatasamy, K.R.P.Visvanatham and scores of others met at Pachchayappan College and resolved to make Thai first Thamil New year instead of Chiththirai..

 

In order to have a continuous year count the birth day of Thiruvalluvar was taken as falling on Thai (Suravam) first. This was given effect by the TN government in 1971 in official calendars, from 1972 in gazettes and from 1981 in all departments. Later it was extended to non-governmental departments as well.

 

In the Indian civil calendar, the initial epoch is the Saka Era, a traditional era of Indian chronology that is said to have begun with King Salivahana's accession to the throne and is also the reference for most astronomical works in Sanskrit literature written after 500 AD. In the Saka calendar, the year 2002 AD is 1925.

 

 

The other popular epoch is the Vikram era that is believed to have begun with the coronation of King Vikramaditya. The year 2002 AD corresponds to 2060 in this system.

The Calendar Reform Committee set up India’s present day national calendar in 1957. It is a lunisolar calendar, which has leap years coinciding with the leap years of the Gregorian calendar. The months in the calendar have been named after the conventional Indian months. This calendar came into effect with the Saka Era in Chaitra 1, 1879 (March 22, 1957).

 

Although we don’t have direct evidence of Thiruvalluvar’s birth day, this day has been chosen with reference to available (indirect data) from Sangam and post-Sangam Thamil literature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The opposition to the change in the Thamil New Year from Chiththirai to Thai mostly emanates due to a lack of proper understanding of astronomy. Added is the natural tendency to resist change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Earth has three types of motions: motion around its axis, motion around the Sun, and motion of its axis due to wobbling of Earth. The Earth rotates around its axis in 24 hours, which causes day and night. In the Northern Hemisphere we see that all but one of the stars and planets rise in the east and set in the west. The one star that does not rise or set is the polar star (Dhruv Nadchchathiram or Polaris), which is located directly above the Earth's North Pole. The Earth’s axis is tilted from perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic by 23.45°. It is this tilting that causes the four seasons of the year - spring, summer, autumn (fall) and winter. Since the axis is tilted, different parts of the globe are oriented towards the Sun at different times of the year.

 

The seasonal changes have nothing to do with stars or planets as widely believed by Astrologers and Almanac casters.

 

The second type of motion is the rotation of the Earth around the Sun in 365 days to complete one revolution in an elliptical orbit. Using modern instruments for exact observations of the universe, the Earth takes 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.50 seconds to complete one revolution with respect to the stars (sidereal year). With respect to the orbit, it takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45.50 seconds to complete one revolution (tropical year). The difference in time is 20 minutes and 24.00 seconds as follows:

 

days hours minutes seconds

Solar year, 365 5 48 45.50

Sidereal year, 365 6 9 9.50

Difference, 20 24.00

 

 

This difference is caused by the third type of motion of Earth, the wobbling of its axis, which astronomers call processional movement (precession of equinoxes) of the pole or axis of the Earth.

 

 

The ancient Thamils lived in close touch with nature. Astronomy and astrology very much influenced their lives. With regard to the year, the Thamils started it with the Vernal Equinox. Astronomers have determined the Sun transiting Aries at 0 degree as the Vernal Equinox, that is the day when the Sun rose exactly in the east, coincided. This was about the year 285AD. With the lapse of centuries, the New Year falls now, about three weeks after the Vernal Equinox. The Hindu solar year is sidereal, and since it is in excess of the tropical year by 20 minutes and 24.00 seconds, it does not keep step with the seasons. The seasons fall back one and half days for every hundred years or one day every 71.6 years.

 

It is not correct to say that Chiththirai has always been the beginning of Thamil New Year. Nachchinarkiniyar who wrote a commentary to Tholkaappiyam says Thamil New Year started in August (Aavani) and ended in July (Aadi). This demonstrates the fact that Aeries (Medam) is not the start of the reference point in the Zodiac during Tholkappiyar’s time.

 

The Thamils/Hindus divided the year into "Uttarayanam" the first six months after the winter solstice and "Dhadshanyam" the second six months after the summer solstice. The former was considered health-giving, bright period for man and animals for during that period the days became longer and longer. Thus "Uttarayanam" was celebrated by Thaipongal and Paddippongal (the cattle festival). Most of the temple festivals in the Thamil country were also fixed for this bright period. The beginning of the "Dhadshanayam" was marked by "Adipirapoo" (July 1- Hindu calendar). These six months were considered not a very bright period for men and animals because the days became shorter and shorter.

 

One of the major drawbacks in counting Chiththirai is that it is not a continuous year. Its cycle consists of 60 years. This cycle of years is useless to record historical events. And their (so are some of the months) names are not Thamil. They are in Sanskrit. The mythological story attached to the birth of the years is extremely vulgar and obscene.

 

A close look at the six seasons given in Thamil literature reveals that they are out of sync with the actual seasons experienced at the equator.

 

Season Nature of Period Thingal Gregorian Calendar =

Ilavenil Kaalam mild sunny period Chithirai, Vahasi mid April to mid June

Muthuvenil Kaalam intense sunny period Aani, Aadi mid June to mid August

Kaar Kaalam cloudy rainy Period Aavani, Purataasi mid August to mid October

Kuthir Kaalam cold period Iyppassi, Kaarthihai mid October to mid December

Munpani Kaalam early misty period (evening dew) Maarkali, Thai mid December to mid February

Pinpani Kaalam late misty period (morning dew) Maasi, Panguni mid February to mid April

 

Definitely mid June to mid-August is not the rainy season in Northeast of Ceylon or Tamil Nadu. They are in fact hot and humid months. The rainy season is from October to November (Iyppasi to Kaarthikai) and not from mid August to mid October.

 

The coolest months are December - January (Maarkali - Thai).

 

It is in January (Thai) the farmer harvests the first sheaves of a harvest. They are ground and mixed with old rice and used for Pongal. The actual harvest season does not take place in January. It takes place in February and March. This is due to the change in seasons due to precession.

 

January 14th too has astronomical significance, in that, the Sun (Earth) commences its Northerly transit.

In fact there are four transits of significance by the Sun in its journey from south to north and north to south. They are

 

Spring Equinox March 20/21

Summer Solstice June 21

Autumnal Equinox September 22

Winter Solstice December 21/22

 

Equinoxes are days in which day and night are of equal duration. The two yearly equinoxes occur when the Sun crosses the celestial equator.

 

The solstices are days when the Sun reaches its farthest Northern and Southern declinations. The winter solstice occurs on December 21 or 22 and marks the beginning of winter (this is the shortest day of the year). The summer solstice occurs on June 21 and marks the beginning of summer (this is the longest day of the year).

 

The above is true only in regard to the Northern hemisphere. It will be the exact opposite to those living in the Southern hemisphere. When it is summer in the Northern hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern hemisphere. So in regard to spring and autumn.

 

As already mentioned, the arrivals of the seasons have been changing at the rate of 1 degree per 71.6 years. Westerners found spring coming earlier (March 10) than the Julian calendar showed viz March 21. To adjust the extra days Pope Gregory ordered the deletion of 10 days i.e. October 5th was followed up with October 15th. The Gregorian calendar still has a few seconds difference. But the calendar can hold good fairly accurately for the next 1000 years.

 

Due to the precession of the equinoxes, the Sun will be at the 1st degree of Libra at the spring equinox in 11,232 years. Those who think that almanacs and calendars are cast in iron should mark their calendars. The zodiac of the two systems (Tropical and Sidereal) will be exactly opposite one another. Ayanamsha will be 180 degrees 0 minutes.. It would be interesting to those who oppose Thamil New Year shifted to Thai first to incarnate at that time just to join in the debate.

 

In Vedic or Sidereal astrology the calculation of the Sun passing through the 1st degree of Aries is marked by the Sun actually passing through the observable fixed stars making up the constellation Aries and has nothing to do with the seasons. Because of the precession of equinoxes at a rate of 50.26 seconds per year, .difference between the tropical zodiac and sidereal zodiac increases every 10 years by 8 minutes 22 arc seconds.

 

The Thamil / Hindu calendar has gone awry and no correction was made for precession of equinoxes.

 

This is the reason why the real seasons are not synchronizing with months mentioned above. Poet Subramanian Bharathiyar has pointed out this discrepancy in one of his essays.

 

Those who claim that Chiththirai New Year ushers in Spring, (Venil) have to re-think. It really falls on March 21st. A good 24 days earlier. So are all the Hindu auspices festival and ceremonial days.

 

The "wobble" and the precession of the equinoxes were known to the Ancient Egyptians, although the first official "discovery" of it was made by an Ancient Greek astronomer, Hipparchus, who was born sometime around 190 B.C. It was noted that the Sun was in a slightly earlier position at the time of the Spring Equinox each year (as measured against the fixed stars). Because the movement slips backwards (Westwards) through the zodiac, it is called precession (as opposed to a forward-movement which would be called progression).

 

Now 1° every 71.6 years doesn't sound like too much, but it certainly adds up over 2,000 years or so, and this is where we get into the different Zodiac systems.

 

The determination of Thai first as Thamil New Year is now a fait accompali. One cannot unscramble a scrambled egg. History is heavily stacked against intellectually discreditable individuals for they live in the past.

 

The change of Thamil New Year has not altered or modified the Panchangam or Thamil Almanac as some foolishly think or argue. What has changed is the reference point (in a circle any point could be considered the reference point) in the Zodiac. Instead of Aeries 0 degree being considered the birth of Thamil New Year, the reference point has been shifted to Makaram 0 degree the birth of Thamil New Year.

There is reference in Thamil Sangam literature to the celebration of Thai Neeradal, but there is absolutely no reference to Chiththirai New Year in ancient literature.

The shifting of Thamil New Year from Chiththirai first to Thai first is a mile stone in the history of Thamils.