The Tamil new year (தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு, வருட பிறப்பு), or Mesha Sankranti, is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month (சித்திரை மாதம்) of the solar calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, the Tamil new year falls on the 14th of April this year.
The path of the sun in one year is divided into twelve parts and each part signifies a rasi or zodiac sign. In a month, the sun travels through one rasi. The transit of the sun from one rasi to another is called sankranti. The sun travels from meena rasi (phalguni / panguni month) to mesha rasi (chaitra / chitthirai month), ushering in the New Year.
The name of this new year is Vikari samvatsara (விகாரி வருடம், विकारी सम्वत्सर).
On this auspicious day, we clean our homes and decorate the home with rangoli (kolam). We pray to the Parabrahmam to grant us a good and a prosperous year. We visit temples and listen to the reading of the panchangam (பஞ்சாங்கம்) by the learned elders. A feast of payasam, vadai and other mouth watering dishes is prepared. In many households, a special dish called mangai pachadi (மாங்காய் பச்சடி) is made especially for this occasion. This dish includes all of the six tastes found in food: sour (raw mangoes), sweet (brown sugar), spicy (chilies), bitter (neem flowers), astringent (mustard) and salt . This is to remind us that life includes all types of experiences and that we need to face all these experiences with equanimity.
Let us pray for a prosperous and auspicious Vikari year.
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In our day to day lives, we express our bhakti (devotion) by reciting slokas in praise of Bhagavan. Slokas explain to us the philosophy of dharma. We believe that the power of reciting any sloka is enhanced when one understands the meaning of the verse in the correct context. In this series, we bring you well researched meaning of the verses to start your journey towards the goal of understanding the slokas.