Yesterday - 14 April; traditionally has been celebrated as Tamil New Year Day. My mother tongue is Telugu and the Telugu New Year is always before the Tamil New Year and there is no fixed date. It is usually between the last week of March to the first week of April. This year, it was on April 8th.
Telugu is a modern language that has been derived from sanksrit and is 'proper' where all complex constanants can be pronounced. Tamil, on the other hand, is one of the oldest langauges and is popularly believed to have preceded Sanskrit. That might be the main cause for the langauge to be simple and bereft of any complex pronouciations. When compared head to head, it resembles the clash between the old, experienced & mature and the young, correct & dashing. Both the cultures are filled with pride, though i see the scale tipping towards the Tamilians with their coloured past
Moving on the New Year, both are eagerly awaited in my home. Ever since we moved to Coimbatore (1982) & Chennai (1986) - we have seen the 2 functions celebrated up close. Telugu New Year is special because of the Ugadi Chutney - a paste made of Tamarid juice, mango peices, jaggery, neem flowers - each signifying an aspect of life namely Sour, Sweet & Bitter. It is believed that the first taste that you feel, would be an apt reflection of the upcoming year. I also wish it was sweet; but am in no mood to tell me which one it was this year.
Talking of Tamil New Year, the pattimandrams - debates have attracted my attention for long. These debates entertaining, enriching and has everyone in splits. I admit that intellectual content & context is not the primary concern; but the intellectual capabilities of the participants on issues of culture and people behaviour are impeccable - most, if not all have doctoral background. These debates enrich the soceity on gray areas. The 2 that i watched yesterday where - Pleasures - Do you have it in Cities or villages? Importance to Culture; Who takes it to the limits - Man or Woman?
If you know Tamil & are in town for New Year, i suggest drop other things - pattimandrams are as great as the Ugadi Chutney of Telugu New Year