Tamil New Year, also known as Puthandu or Varudappirappu, is the first day of the Tamil calendar year. It is on April 14th, as the date is set according to the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar. This festival is celebrated by Tamil people of most religions, usually through feasting, giving gifts and visiting their place of worship. However, with the recent lifestyle changes as a result of lockdown, Tamil people worldwide have had to adjust their typical New Year festivities

One example is the tradition of a kolam, a drawing on the ground outside one’s house usually made using rice flour, chalk or chalk powder. As a result of lockdown, acquiring the necessary materials to make a kolam for New Year has become quite difficult, so people have had to use their imaginations to improvise. For example, Geetha Ramesh from Edinburgh produced a beautiful and innovative kolam (pictured) using table salt, chili powder and turmeric powder. This in turn inspired many others to try their own take on a kolam using what they had at home.

Something else that many have had to forgo is making Mango Pachadi. It is a sweet and sour dish containing unripe mango and jaggery, and is meant as a reminder that life has ups and downs. Again, access to some of the ingredients for this dish, such as mango and neem flowers, is difficult and as a result many settled for subsitutes that could be found online.

People still managed to stay close to loved ones by wishing them a happy new year through phone calls and social media. While it is upsetting to have constants in our lives temporarily removed, it is good to remember that staying in as much as possible is the best thing to do during the current coronavirus pandemic.