The Tamil New Year will be celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai, and not on the first of Thai.

The State Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill to repeal the Tamil Nadu Tamil New Year (Declaration) Act, 2008, brought in by the DMK government three years ago for declaring the first day of month of Thai as the Tamil New Year's day.

Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister S.P. Shanmuganathan, who introduced the Bill, said the government had decided “to restore the time immemorial custom of celebrating the first day of Chithirai as the Tamil New Year.”

Participating in the debate on the bill, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said the DMK government enacted the law to create a false impression that the then Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi alone had love for the Tamil people and the Tamil language. Further, she said, no reason was given for bringing in such a legislation.

“It was enacted with a view to seeking Mr. Karunanidhi's self-publicity. None benefitted from the law. Instead, it hurt the sentiments of the people who had been celebrating Tamil New Year on the first day of Chithirai since time immemorial. People's faith cannot be changed through laws.”

She said the government had received representations from the people seeking the law's repeal.

She said even though the DMK government claimed that it enacted the law after Tamil scholars unanimously expressed their opinion in favour of celebrating Tamil New Year on the first day of Thai, Tamil people continued to celebrate it on Chithirai the last three years. As per the Tamil calendar, Chithirai was the first month and it was done based on the movement of the Sun. “Chithirai covers the Sun's transit through mesha. It is said our ancestors selected Chithirai as the first month since the year should begin with spring. It is based on astronomy and the wheel of seasons. One of the ancient Tamil epics, ‘Seevaka Chinthamani', refers to this period as the first season of the year.”

She said many scholars had expressed their opinion in favour of celebrating Tamil New Year in Chithirai.


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