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Tamil New Year returns to Chithirai

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Life is a dream
Staff member
Reversing yet another decision of the previous DMK regime, the Jayalalithaa government on Tuesday announced that the Tamil New Year would now be celebrated in April, instead of January.

The move followed a public demand that the New Year be reverted to ‘Chithirai’, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said in the Assembly, while accusing the previous DMK government of not taking it into account the “sentiments and opinion” of the people while effecting the change in 2008.

The DMK regime’s decision was “useless” and one that “hurt” the sentiments of the people, she said while announcing the move which comes four days after her government decided to convert the Rs 1,200 crore new Assembly-cum-Secretariat complex into a multi-super-speciality hospital and a new medical college, overturning DMK chief Karunanidhi’s pet project.

Ms. Jayalalithaa claimed the Tamil New Year had all along being celebrated in the month of ‘Chithirai’ and the previous regime had changed the system which was in vogue for many years with the sole intention of gaining “publicity.”

Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Minister S.P. Shanmuganathan moved a resolution seeking to revert the New Year to Chithirai in the Tamil calendar.

The Left parties, allies of the ruling AIADMK coalition, expressed their ‘opposition’ demanding that the matter be referred to a standing committee. However, the resolution was passed by a majority vote.

In 2008, the Karunanidhi Government had passed a resolution in the Assembly to shift the Tamil New Year to January 14, coinciding with the harvest festival of Pongal.

Ms. Jayalalithaa, then Opposition Leader, had declined to conform to Mr. Karunanidhi’s move and had greeted the people only during the month of April.

She also claimed that despite the then DMK government effecting a change, people had, however, continued to celebrate the Tamil New Year in ‘Chithirai’ only.

Karunanidhi opposes move

Reacting strongly, Mr. Karunanidhi, in a statement to the media, opposed the government’s move to make April 14 as Tamil new year day. He said the decision to make January 14, the first day of Tamil year was based on a research by Tamil scholar Maraimalai Adigal — the father of pure Tamil movement in the State in the first half of the 20th century, who advocated the use of Tamil devoid of Sanskrit words.

“In 1921, Tamil scholar Maraimalai Adigal along with 500 experts had decided on the first day of Thai month (January) becoming the first day of the year and named 12 Tamil months in a year. So was the Tamil calendar of Thiruvalluvar Aandu (Tamil equivalent of Saka calendar), Mr. Karunanidhi said.

PMK too opposes the move

PMK too opposed the move saying “deciding the date of Tamil New Year should not be based on political differences.

In a statement, PMK founder S. Ramadoss said even though the first day of Chithirai is the New Year for Hindus, Gujaratis and Marathis observe a separate New Year day. So, the government must withdraw its move to make first day of Chithirai (April 14) as Tamil New Year,” he said.

as published in The Hindu - The Hindu : States / Tamil Nadu : Tamil New Year returns to Chithirai
This is also shown as banner news in jaya tv.

Thr tamil calendar 'kakanirnay' which is popular outside tamilnadu played it safe in 2011, marking apr14 as tamil new year and jan 13 an tamilnadu government new year. I am glad that all the atheist executive officers who put pressure on the temples to celebrate jan 13 as the temple new year are kicked out by the new government.

did not realize that tamil new years day ever moved.

where i live in toronto, april 14 is and has always been tnyd. :) celebrated 100% with gusto by our sri lankan cousins. we tambrams tend to ignore, i notice, all festivals, of late.
I always wish that the significance of Jan 14 Makara Sankranti(Pongal) be realized out here in Malaysia.
Everyone here wants to see Pongal purely as a harvest festival without any religious significance.
makara sankaranthi is astronomically dec 21/22 coinciding with winter solstices.but dunno why it became jan 14?

technically,new year shud start on dec 21/22 pegging with seasons,but then gregorian calendar just removed all celestial objects as markers and made it purely man made mathematical algorithm,which is what we follow universally now despite hindu panchangam for festivals.
this MK's self publicity....to show off as ONLY TAMIL CUSTODIAN IN THE WORLD....this bill is right move....MK thinks..chithirai is only

for parpans...to get the minority vote bank....like wise former finance minister K. Anbalagan wanted to remove deepawali festival

from tamil nadu...becoz its an aryan festival....but he failed.....these dravidian plays only HINDU FESTIVALS....not with muslim/

christian festivals......these politicians attend ramadan feasts...to get minority votes.......just political gain......

காலம் மாறும் ......ஆட்சி மாறும்....சுய நலத்துக்காக எடுக்கபட்ட நியமங்களும் மாறும்....அது தான் ஜனநாயகம் ....மக்களால் தேர்ந்து எடுக்கபட்ட ..
மக்களுக்காக ....எல்லா ஆட்சியும் கொஞ்ச காலதுக தான்....உண்மை என்றும் வெல்லும்.....

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This is the true color of Secularism of M.K and other dravidian leaders.
I will appreciate if M.K. or any one of the Tamil Kavalars to announce Jun 3 or Sept 15 as Ramzan or Christmas day . No they will not do it bcoz vote bank.
The one and only principle or policy of these idiotic Dravidians is How to make money , then the 2 nd principle is how to make more money.
Even one Mr K. Veeramani is also for this, some times back made a statement that lots of wealth found under a stone called anantha padmanaba sami ( He pressed sami is only name ) take out all those things and give it to needy people.
You ask this fellow to be one of the trust member , he will dump Periyar in Koovam and rush to Trivandrum. Then am sure he will claim that he follows the principal of Periyar. ( Periyar's Policy is only to make money ) Till his death he was making money and died, now these so called soldiers from periyar's pasarai follows that.
I have seen even the shawls presented to them is sold in auction to raise money and this money is used for a noble cause of getting new jewels , land to the chinna veedu. As their main kolgai Sambalam ( Legal earnings ) to Legal wife and thes illegal earnings to vappattis.
Some thing you can't even imagine.
There is a proverb in tamil says that " Ethhai thinna Piththam teliyum " .
The proverb of pasarai is ' Enna pannina duddu sambathikkalam '
Karuna changed new year only to make easy money. maraimalai adhu idhu ellam summa dupe.
CHITHIRAI is the name given to the first month in the Tamil Calendar. Obviously if common sense prevails, the first day of the first month ought to be the beginning of a New Year. No man or party has the right to change New Year Day as per their whim and fancy and therefore cause their own fall and dig their own funeral as has happened. Whatever change whosoever makes, as far as Tamil Calendar and the Tamil speaking people are concerned, Chithirai will always remain the first month and the 1st day of Chithirai will always be the Tamil New Year day. The Tamil Calendar obviously must have been started many centuries ago by some of our ancestors, by a group of authorized people, based on some historic event which they must have decided to be an even marking the beginning of the Tamil Calendar, for the purpose of keeping track of time. We need to honor the people who pioneered the Tamil Calendar and the criterion based on which they started counting days.

Again it is inappropriate to say, April 14th is Tamil New Year Day. The 1st Day of Chithirai is not decided by the Gregorian Calendar. Moreover, the 1st day of Chithirai does not always coincide with April 14th. My appeal to Tamilians is to stop referring always to Gregorian Calendar (which has inherent errors plenty in itself) always for anything and everything.

Again Pongal is not decided by the Gregorian Calendar. The first day of the Tamil Month of Thai is celebrated as Pongal, regardless of whatever date it is on the Gregorian Calendar. It is a mere coincidence that Pongal falls mostly on 13th or 14th or 15th of January.

The Tamil Calendar must have been started, obviously by a group of our Tamil ancestors with the objective of keeping track of time. The first day of the first month must have been chosen based on some historic event on that day, and they must have decided to start counting days from that day. We need to honor our ancestors and the criterion for which they chose that particular day to begin the Calendar. We cannot change the first day as per our own whim and fancy.

Let the Gujaratis and other language group have their own calendar based on whatever criterion they chose the first day. We are in no way obliged to follow other language group to chart out a calendar. If Ramadoss is ignorant, let him stay out of such discussions and matters.

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The solar system goes monotonously on and on irrespective of MK or JJ ruling over TN !

The sun's apparent path among the stars (called the ecliptic) crosses the celestial equator (which is the earth's equatorial plane imagined as projected into space) on the sun moving to 0 degree of Aries (Chithirai) Rasi. It then moves in a northerly direction; everyday we can observe the sun rising and setting slightly to the north of where it did the previous day if we have the proper instruments. But for ordinary folks like us we can mark some suitable spot in our terrace or open balcony and standing/sitting there we may mark some stable item like wall corner, spire, ariel, tower, gopuram etc. which coincides with the sun; next day or a few days later we will find that the sun has moved further north.

This Aries Zero Degree is called the vernal equinox day (the day in which day and night are equal) in spring. Our ancient astronomers understood this phenomenon and took Chithirai first day (Aries Zero) as the commencement of New Year and this is followed in most parts even now.

In makara (Capricorn Zero Degree) Sun reaches to its most southward point below (south of) celestial equator and starts moving north. That is why it is called "makara samkraanthi" or UttaraayaNa puNyakaalam. In astronomy it is known as winter solstice. (sol-sun; sticere-stand still, in Latin). This now occurs on 22nd. December. Our ancient pundits lived centuries ago when these two, vernal equinox and winter solstice used to occur on April 15th. and January 15 th. respectively.

But due to a phenomenon called "precession of the equinoxes", the equinox occurs around 50.27 arc seconds before the previous year. This was not known to our ancients. So what happened on April 15 and January 15 in those days, have now moved backwards by about 23 or 24 days which means around 1700 years to happen. Since we tend to worship all that is old, we have devised a way to keep the solar system back at wherever it was 1700 years ago; we say we won't take into account this precession and behave as though it has not happened ;)

So we take the (angular) positions of all the planets as given in modern astronomical tables, add this difference of 22 or 23 degrees and say that is the "nirayana" (without ayana or not having ayana) system. Our astrology is also based on this nirayana basis. But like most other things we have different Pundits following different values of this Ayanaamsa. As of now, we have six different Ayanamsa values to choose from.

So, it will be ideal if we observe the New Year on March 22 and Makara Samkraanthi on December 22, in line with the Sun and the Earth. We may be required to shift our New Year back by one day in every 70 years.
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The present Govt has only nullified the annoncement of the earlier Govt.There were public representations for this .So it has been done.Nothing more to read on this issue.
I think we need to see sidereal and tropical events separately. Constellations like makara, mesha etc. are fixed constellations in the sky. And Sun does indeed pass into makara and mesha on thai and chiththirai 1st respectively. The date of sankranti has not changed. Sankranti is a sidereal event (relative to the background stars)

However, due to precession, the seasons (and hence ayana and vishu punya kalam) have drifted away. While in AD 285, vishu coincided with mesha sankranti, today, it occurs when sun is in meenam itself. Similarly, sun turning towards uttarayanam, while it coincided with makara sankranti in AD 285, has now drifted backwards to happen when sun is in the dhanur raasi. These events (the two ayanas and two vishus or in english the solstices and equinoxes) are tropical events and get affected by precession.

So this means that while we have the months from chiththirai, vaikasi etc. as it is, the ayanam and Rtu we say in sankalpam will have to be modified. Instead of chiththirai and vaikasi being vasanta Rtu, it should start from March 21st to May 20th and so on. Similarly uttarayanam will begin on December 22nd instead of thai 1st.

This is similar to the two systems of reckoning we have for the moon. The sidereal system (of nakshatras) and the phasal system (of tithis). The former is purely based on background stars and hence not affected , while the latter is relative to the position of the sun and hence is also affected by precession.

The western Zodiac is a moving Zodiac. Which means Aries is no more pointing to the region in sky where the actual mesha constellation is, but has moved with the movement of the equinox. So, it is not really Aries. But since the most accurate ephemeris that we can get are from the west and the modern convention is to use a co-ordinate system that is relative to the spring equinox, we are having to use these data and also get ayanamsa etc.

I frankly think the sidreal co-ordinate system is more accurate to tell the exact position of the objects in the sky (since the proper motion of the background stars is negligible on human scales of time). Which means the current scheme of months and nakshatras give a good fixed frame of reference. In this fixed frame, the tithis and the vishus and ayanas (and hence Rtus) can be had as moving events.
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