The Sunday TimesPlus

13th April1997



Understanding Puththandu

It is important to note that many days of religious and cultural significance to the Sinhalese are also so to the Tamils. The New Year is one of them, in Eastern Traditions specially of South Asia, Time is a great destroyer, if not the supreme destroyer. It is very powerful. It destroys, devours everything. It forces people into the matrix of action, Karma. It is in a sense the lesser God. It is also an aspect of Dharma because it is the great leveller. In our mythologies, it is the Kala. He is Yama. It is not surprising that it is approached with awe and concern. We are concerned of the date and time of our birth. We are concerned even of the time we die. We look for an auspicious time to begin our schooling, to marry, to go into occupation, into a new house and to do many many things. Many of our people long alienated from their nests by an educational system inspired mainly by alien perceptions simply don't seem to understand this.

The New Year in our calendar, Mesha Sankranthi is important as the beginning of another New Year, in the eternal cycle of day, years, yugas and kalpas. For the Tamils this Isura year, dawns on the 31st day of Chitterai, Sunday at 8.37 pm. and the Vishu period, the punyakala is at 2.30 that night. During this punyakala the people should anoint themselves with oil, and take a head bath using maruthuneer, water boiled with medicinal and aromatic herbs and substances, wear red or red-bordered dress, worship the parents, elders in the family and get their blessings and help the lowly to the extent they can (Kaivisasam). The next day, Monday they may as usual do their morning ablutions, go to a nearby Temple and worship. Returning home it is usual for them to have a pongal to the sun, who is the Sun God, the Pratyaksa Deva by whom all time is measured.

Traditionally, the whole period for about a fortnight beginning with the New Year is festive season. Sweetmeats are made in every home. Visits are exchanged, games and contests are organized. The coconut contest (Por Thenkai Addittal) in which the person who has the hardest nut to crack wins and cart races are two of them. But under the impact of an unprecedented cultural neo-colonial invasion euphemistically but variously termed, Liberalization, Globalization and Free Trading these customs are fast disappearing, if they have not already disappeared from our social life. -Yajnavalkaya

New Year forecast

By H.G. Athukorale


Aries natives will enjoy a remarkable upturn in their careers from the second week of June. Financial prosperity is promised. Profits are likely from the sale of some immovable property in July and August.

Success through new employment and competitive affairs are anticipated in June, July, September and October. July and August are good months for students. Aries natives can expect success from joint ventures and partnerships. There will be an improvement in domestic life after August. June, August and October are good months for planning weddings. Great success as regards money, property and career can be expected after June. An accident or surgical operation could occur in October.


The New Year spells good luck for Taurans. Finances will be very sound from July onwards. Career changes are likely in July. Success in all undertakings is promised. Loans from monetary institutions are forthcoming for new enterprises in May and September. Taurans can also expect scholarships and special training. Windfalls are also likely in May or June.

August and September could bring foreign travel. Construction of a house could also materialise in August or October and there are residential changes indicated for some post October. A good time for students.


Finances will im prove for Geminis from July to November. Those in industry and professional fields will see an improvement in their careers in the second half of the year. Those in the services can look forward to promotions this year.

Transfers are likely in July and August. The period after August is profitable for businessmen and women. Some advancement in the affairs of children is also likely. Students will make rapid progress in their studies. The period after May and after November is good for foreign travel.


The New Year is extremely auspicious for Cancer natives, who will see many favourable changes in their lifestyles. They will have relief from certain obligations and responsibilities. Those in the services, industrial and professional and business spheres will have a good period from June onwards, with their financial status improving. New responsibilities are likely in the workplace and social fields. Education and major changes in relationships are the major changes likely in the next six months. Property matters are favourable. Love affairs are likely to blossom.


The period from Au gust and after January are very favourable for Leo natives. The planets ensure extremely good financial results. Property transactions are also favoured and success in speculation is likely after September. Those in the services will find the period after May quite satisfactory. May and June are good for seeking jobs and so are the months of September and October. Good partnerships in business are also on the cards for Leos. Financial worries will disappear post May. The year is satisfactory for Leo women.


Big changes are in the offing for Virgo natives this year. Financially a good period from August to December. Career wise also this period is favourable. Money will come in from unexpected quarters from November to February and a measure of success is promised from speculation. Students can expect success in examinations. Virgo natives are likely to gain new appointments. The months of May to August and post October are good fro marriages. Foreign travel is also likely this year.


A happy atmos phere will prevail in the workplace . Librans will make many friends who will help extend their interests. Foreign travel; is likely in connection with education and employment. By May or August a prominent position may be trust on you. Librans can look forward to learning new skills this year. The period from June on wards to September is good for personal affairs. January to March 1998 will see great improvement in all respects. Marriages are likely in May or September.


Financial windfall could well come your way this year. August to October is a good period for those in employment. Financial matters are likely to improve during May and August and January to March 1998. Those studying for examinations can anticipate success. Property problems could be settled. Salary increases may come your way post May. Litigation, if any, will come to an end.


Sagittarius will progress in their careers and see and improvement in their income post August. The period from June is a happy one as regards personal matters. All financial dealings and transactions will bring good results. The year is also good for women. Those in business and professional spheres can look forward to success post May. Delayed marriages can be celebrated during the second half of the year.


New sources of in come will improve the finances of Capricorn natives. Success in investments and speculation are likely. The year promises to be both pleasant and prosperous. A harmonious domestic life is also predicted. The period from May to August is good for new investments on buildings or houses. Those in the services can expect promotions. Capricorn romances will prosper. Students will also see success.


Strict financial dis cipline should be exercised by Aquarians. The period from August onwards however will bring financial gain. June and July are good months for job seekers. Aquarian natives can look forward to a happy domestic life. They are also likely to shine in the field of sports and athletics. September and November are good for making business deals. The unmarried will receive marriage proposals. The year is good for academic pursuits.


Financial good luck is likely for Pisceans. They will have to be prudent in their actions however. Those in business will have a favourable year. Domestic responsibilities will increase. Professionals will have to face the limelight in unexpected circumstances. A good year for those undertaking research and other studies. For some the construction of a house is likely. The period post July is good for foreign travel.

Auspicious Times

Watching the New Moon
Thursday 10 April- For the New Lunar year
Thursday 8 May- For the Solar year

Bathing for the old year
Saturday 12 April - A lotion mixed with Nuga leaves to be applied before bathing and a meditation on Deities after

Dawn of the New Year
Sunday 13 April 1997, 10.51 pm marks the dawn of the Aluth Avurudu

Auspicious Times

The Sinhala and Tamil New Year will dawn at 10.51 pm on April 13 Sunday with the entry of the Sun to Aries (Mesha) from Pisces (Meena) The period for meritorious deeds, i.e., 'Nonagathaya' period will commence at 4.27 pm on Sunday 13 and end at 5.15 am on Monday.

All activities to be stopped before 4.27 pm on Sunday 13 April, when one is to engage in religious duties

New Year Customs:
Lighting the hearth- To be done at 4.07 am on Monday 14, facing South. Auspicious colour is white and yellow

Partaking of Meals:
White and yellow coloured garments to be worn and partaking of meals to be done after Ganudenu or exchange of money at 6.24 am on Monday 14th facing South.

Anointing of oil:
At 9.20 am on Wednesday 16th facing North in green garments

Leaving for work:
6.07 am on Friday 18th April facing North wearing blue coloured garments and after partaking of a meal mixed with milk

Please add half an hour to the above nekath times to accommodate the time change.

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