Tamil New Year back to Chithirai

via http://newstodaynet.com/newsindex.php?id=24468%20&%20section=6 published on August 24, 2011

In a significant move, the Tamilnadu Assembly today passed a Bill shifting back the Tamil New Year to the original month of Chithirai (mid-April), laying to rest the previous DMK government’s out of the blue declaration of changing the age-old practice to mid-January.
The Bill tabled in the House by Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister S P Shanmuganathan said that members of the public, archealogical experts, pundits, astronomy exponents and others have expressed the opinion that the DMK goverment’s 2008 decision to shift the Tamil New Year was against the practice of centuries.

‘They requested the government to revert the Tamil New Year to the month of Chithirai,’ the Bill said and added that there are a lot of practical difficulties among the people to celebrate Pongal as the Tamil New year Day.

‘Hence it has been decided to declare once again the first day of Chithirai as the Tamil New Year day,’ the Bill said.

When the Bill was tabled, CPI(M) MLA A Soundararajan and CPI legislator Guasekaran said that they opposed the Bill and requested the Speaker to send it to the Standing Committee.

Later, the Bill was taken up for discussion through a resolution brought by Finance Minister and Leader of the House O Panneerselvam and was passed as Law.

The Tamilnadu government in 2008 decided to declare the first day of the Tamil month Thai as the Tamil New Year Day.

According to the previous regime, the decision was taken in view of the ‘consensus’ amongst Tamil scholars that the first of Thai is the first day of the Tamil year.

‘Till now, the people celebrated 14 April (the first of Chithirai, an auspicious month for conducting marriages) as Tamil New Year Day.

Now those who celebrate Pongal as the festival of Tamils can celebrate it as Tamil New Year Day also with redoubled joy’, the erstwhile government said.

Former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, while inaugurating the Chennai Sangamam, a ‘controversial’ cultural extravaganza, had announced that Thai 1 would henceforth be celebrated as Tamil New Year Day along with Pongal, the festival of harvest.

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