Friday, January 16, 2015

Chennai Holidays: Thiruvalluvar Day

Day two of our five day weekend (the fifth day being Martin Luther King day). Today is Thiruvalluvar Day. A holiday unique to Tamil Nadu, it is lumped in with the Pongal celebrations, but is actually in honor of the same-named Tamil poet. Thiruvalluvar lived sometime before the 2nd century BCE and has been called the greatest Tamil Scholar. His most famous work is the Tirukkuṛaḷ a work on ethics.

In the Pongal tradition, the day is dedicated to Surya, the sun god. Being a primarily agrarian celebration, the sun god naturally plays a central role. Sugar canes and coconuts are the gifts of choice for this day... which explains why I've seen autos all over town with sugar cane stalks strapped to them!

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