Indians around the world is observing the Chithirai Puthandu, today (April 14).

The following are 10 quick facts about the celebrations for your reading pleasure:

1) It marks the beginning of Chithirai month - the beginning month of the Tamil solar calendar.

2) On the Gregorian calendar, it falls on April 14 every year.

3) Those who observe the celebrations greet each other with "Puthandu Vaaltukkal", which means Happy New Year.

4) Celebrants use rice powder to make "kolam" in the courtyard of in front of their house entrance. The idea is to have ants and insects get drawn to it and gain subsistence. This ancient tradition reflect mankind's need to co-exist with nature.

5) Vegetarian food is cooked and served on this day. Celebrants either pray at home or visit temples.

6) Astrologers or priests will open the Panchangam (almanac) and read the horoscopes to make predicitions for the year to come.

7) The day before the new year, celebrants decorate the prayer room with a mirror, which is placed before abundant signs of prosperity, such as trays filled with fruits, flowers, jewellery, currency notes and coins. This is done to denote the blessings of the Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi.

8) Celebrants have to view these offerings the first thing in the morning after they wake up. This ritual, known as "Kanni" is believed to bring happiness and prosperity in the new year.

9) In certain villages in north and east Tamil Nadu in India, youths engage in cart races and a game of coconut wars (porthenkai).

10) The same day is celebrated by the Punjabi community as Vaisakhi, as it is also the Sikh New Year. The day, or the days preceding and following also marks the traditional new year in various Indian states, and other countries including Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

So there you go, 10 interesting facts about the Chithirai New Year that you may, or may not have known about.

Astro Ulagam wishes all celebrants "Iniya Chithirai Puthandu Vaaltukkal!"

Photos source: S4SKY Rangoli Kolam Malaysia FB,, NDTV , Brown Girl Magazine