Welcoming the Tamil New Year with prayers and celebrations

The start of Tamil New Year on Wednesday saw many devotees queue outside Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple in Serangoon Road to offer their prayers before heading to work.

Among them was Mr Palaniappan Alaguraja, 33, an IT professional, who was at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple with his homemaker wife Shoba Devi, 29, and their two-year-old son Madhan Veeran.

He said he wanted to keep the spirit of the cultural new year alive and have his family feel invigorated amid the gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

"I believe things are only going to get better and this day is precisely to set a positive mode of thinking in motion," he added.

Security officer Theeban, 24, whose family lives in Selangor, hopes that the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia will be stable soon. He has not been able to return home for more than a year and hopes that travel restrictions between Singapore and Malaysia will be eased soon, so that it will be easier for him and his fellow Malaysians to reunite with their families.

At the Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple, devotees expressed similar optimism about the situation in Singapore this year.

"Things are far less bleak than it seemed last year, so I am confident that local tourism will improve this year," said hotelier P. Veeran.

Aesthetics service business owner M. Selvie, 50, said: "Business owners are thankful for the help they have received from the Government. We hope to start this year on the right footing."

Tamil New Year, or Puthandu, is traditionally celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai.

Malayalis and Bengalis also ushered in the new year on Wednesday with their respective festivals, Vishu and Pohela Boishakh, while Sikhs marked Vesakhi, the start of the Sikh New Year, on Tuesday.

On Wednesday night, several Indian community organisations gathered at the PGP Hall on Serangoon Road to launch the Indian New Year celebrations, which was hosted by the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association in collaboration with 16 Indian ethnic groups.

More than 100 artistes from the various groups as well as local celebrities also performed at the event.

The Straits Times

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