Tamil New Year, also known as Puthandu or Varusha Pirappu, is a joyous occasion celebrated by Tamils worldwide, marking the beginning of the Tamil calendar year. Falling on the first day of the Tamil month of Chithirai, this auspicious day is filled with cultural festivities and traditional rituals.

This year, Tamil New Year was celebrated on April 14th, with many going to temples to participate in special poojas and events dedicated to Puthandu. Temples such as the Shree Ganapathy Temple in Wimbledon, the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Wembley, the Hanuman Temple in Brentford, and the Sri Murugan Temple in New Malden are among the many in which the poojas take place (these poojas take place in mostly all Hindu temples)

At home, families begin preparations by cleaning their homes the day before, symbolising the removal of negativity and the beginning of a positive year. On the morning of Puthandu, hair is washed before partaking in any preparations for the day, and new clothes must be worn, whether it is traditional attire or causal clothes. 

There is also a tradition of decorating the house (mainly at the entrance of the house and in front of the prayer room/area) with kolams - a kolam is a form of design or pattern drawn with rice flour on the floor with bare fingers. Preparations for the day's meals begin early, with a variety of vegetarian dishes cooked to perfection. According to the principle of arusuvai, these dishes must collectively cover the six different tastes found in Tamil cuisine: sweet (“innipu”), sour (“pulipu”), bitter (“kasappu”), salty (“uvarpu”), tart/astringent (“thuvarpu”) and spicy (“kaarpu” / “karam”). The meal is typically served on a banana leaf, symbolising prosperity and abundance.

Before indulging in the delicacies, families gather for the pooja and prayer at an auspicious time, seeking blessings for a prosperous year ahead. Traditional songs are also sung and importantly, the food prepared is presented to God first. 

Following the morning rituals, some families visit temples to offer their prayers, while others choose to spend quality time with loved ones at home. Regardless of how the day is spent, Tamil New Year is cherished as a time of togetherness, reflection, and gratitude.