Puthandu is a day of new beginnings; people celebrate it with a hope that this year will bring newer opportunities and growth in their lives. This day is celebrated with neem flowers and raw mangoes, which symbolize growth and prosperity. On the eve of Puthandu, a plateful of three fruits, including mango, banana and jack fruit, betel leaves, areca nuts, gold/silver jewelry, money, flowers, and a mirror are arranged. This plate is the first thing that people see in the morning after waking up. Post this, people take bath early morning and offer pongal to the gods. Many people visit temples to seek blessings so that this New Year brings growth and prosperity.
No festival is complete without food. People in Tamilnadu prepare huge feasts, which makes this occasion even more interesting. A special dish known as Mangai-pachadi is prepared from a variety of flavors. It is generally made using jaggery, mustard, raw mango, neem and red chillies.
Such festive delicacies that combine different flavors are a symbolic reminder that one has to taste all the flavors of experiences in life; no matter it is sweet or bitter, experiences and changes are inevitable. Most of the people like to prepare sweet dhal poli, mango pachadi, veppam poo rasam, etc.
Divine festivals of Aani Month The word "Thirumanjanam" means Holy bath. Aani Thirumanjanam (Tamil month spanning June-July) is a special day (Uthram Nakshtram) when an Abhishekam is performed for Lord Nataraja. It is believed that Lord Nataraja gives darshan to his devotees in the months Aani and Margazhi. The Lord's form demonstrates his five-fold functions: creation, preservation, destruction, concealment and salvation.
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