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Chennai, April 14  Tamil Nadu welcomed “Heyvilambi”- the Tamil New Year – on Friday with traditional fervour with people visiting temples and wearing new clothes.

“Puthandu Vazthukkal” (New Year greetings) is how friends and relatives greeted one another in the morning in person or over the phone.

The New Year is celebrated on the first day of Tamil month Chithirai, which normally falls on April 13 or 14 annually.

“We went to the nearby temple after getting up early,” J. Muralidharan, a resident of Mylapore in south Chennai told IANS.

The houses are decorated with ‘kolam’ (rangoli) outside the front door. Mango leaf streamers adorn the door frames.

All the popular temples here – Kapaleeswarar Temple, Sri Parthasarathy Temple – were crowded with people since morning. At big temples, the almanac for the New Year was read.

At home, Tamilians feasted on dishes like vada and payasam (sweet dish) and other savouries were being prepared.

The special dish of the day is the ‘mango pachidi’ made with neem flowers, jaggery, mango, green chilli, salt and tamarind juice representing the six major human emotions.

Tamils in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and other places also celebrate the New Year on the first day of Chithirai.

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