New Years Greetings for Vishu and Puthaandu

By Hari Venkatachalam, Sadhana member

Between April 13th and 15th, many South Asian and South-East Asian communities celebrated their New Year. In Thailand, people celebrated Songkran with water fights, while Bengali and Bangladeshi communities celebrated Pohela Boishakh with gift exchanges and colorful decorations. Other communities, including Nepali, Sinhalese, Burmese, and many others honor this new year with their own unique and beautiful traditions.

In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the celebrations of Vishu and Puthaandu were celebrated through the decoration of shrines with fruits, books, candles, and flowers. But most importantly, a mirror was placed there as well. On the morning of the celebration, household members looked upon the shrine with hopes that the sight of blessed and beautiful objects would herald a year of fortune and joy.

The mirror plays a special role as well. It forces us to look at ourselves and reflect on our actions, and how we treat ourselves, our families, our communities, and the whole world. Sadhana hopes that each of us can use this time to reflect on how we can get in touch with the divine within us all, to make the world a better place. A world that is free from hatred, religious intolerance, misogyny, casteism, homophobia, and all the other flaws (Pāvam) that plague our society and keep us from recognizing our identity as one family.

We wish all of you a Happy New Year and hope that your celebrations empower you to make our vision of a unified mankind a reality. Vanakkam and Nalvazhthugal!