A renowned philosopher and poet who lived in the 4th century BCE, Thiruvalluvar made an immense contribution to Tamil literature. His works continue to echo through his works and inspire people. Known for penning the Thirukkural, which is an epic collection of couplets on love, economic, political and ethical issues. People in Tamilnadu revere his work and celebrate his literary contribution by recognizing him as a Tamil scholar. The city of Chennai hosts a beautifully sculpted statue of the famed scholar as a resolution to celebrate his contribution was passed on 17th January 1935.
Origin, History, and Significance of Thiruvalluvar
Thiruvalluvar day was first celebrated on 17th and 18th of May in 1935. Overtime it is to be observed on January 15th and 16th in Tamil Nadu and is integrated with Pongal celebrations.
A poet and philosopher, Thiruvalluvar is regarded as a cultural icon with his work revolving around poetry and writing that focussed around politics, love, economy and ethical morality. Not much is known about his life, but a lot has been deduced from his body of work and earlier Tamil texts. The earliest references about the poet are found in Thiruvalluva Malai ( a Tamil text). There is very limited information available about Thiruvalluvar’s date of birth, family background or religious affiliation.
Some facts and legends reveal that he lived in the quiet locality of Mylapore in Chennai between the 4th century and 6th century. Some debate that he lived between the 8th and 9th century.
Maraimalai Adigal deduced 31 BC as his year of birth which Czech scholars like Kamil Zvelebil inferred that he lived around 500AD.
Thiruvalluvar’s primary work is the Thirukural that consists of 1330 couplets distributed into 133 sections of 10 couplets each. Each text is divided into three parts and associated with teachings on artha, kama and dharma (wealth, love and virtue). Thiru means “revered” and “kural” means a style of poetic writing. The Thirukurral is available in 37 languages and also is the most translated work after the Bible. There is also a calendar in his name which begins on his birthday, an honour no other poet or author enjoys.
During the early 16th century, a temple was dedicated to Thiruvalluvar within the Ekambareshwar temple complex located in Mylapore. Locals believe that his birth took place beneath a tree within the temple compound.
When is Thiruvalluvar Day Celebrated
As mentioned, Thiruvalluvar Day is celebrated in Tamil Nadu on the fourth day of Pongal celebrations. The day is observed as a mark of respect for his contribution to the literary field and honoured for the teachings it showers on readers.
How is Thiruvallavur Day Celebrated and Where to Go
The Government of Tamil Nadu initiated the celebration of Thiruvalluvar and his works on the fourth day of the Pongal festival celebrations. A memorial ( resembling a temple) to Thiruvalluvar called Valluvar Kottam was built in Chennai in 1976. The monument is an architectural marvel comprising structures reminiscent of Dravidian temples including a temple chariot which is carved from three single blocks of granite and also has a rectangular-shaped shallow pond.
15th January is celebrated as Thiruvalluvar Day and is declared as a public holiday in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (erstwhile Pondicherry). It is celebrated on the fourth day of Pongal celebrations when people pay respect to elders and elders offer blessings in cash and kind. Womenfolk leave food on banana leaves or turmeric plants for the birds to feed. Food is offered in different colours to attract birds.
On Thiruvalluvar day, Tamil people from Tamil Nadu garland the Thiruvalluvar statue to show respect to his great intellect. Several meetings, literary discourses and seminars are organized all over Tamil Nadu by various Tamil scholars, party leaders and members of the Thiruvalluvar Mandram ( an organization that carries on the legacy). Several schools organize programs on this occasion, inviting children to write essays, recite his work and debate about his teachings. Many programs are held in Valluvar Kottam in the auditorium which has been designed to accommodate 4000 people at a time.
There is also a 133-foot tall statue of Thiruvalluvar at Kanyakumari (the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent) where the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean unite.
A statue of Thiruvalluvar also stands tall outside the School of Oriental and African Studies in London’s Russell Square.
If you are a fan of Thiruvalluvar’s work and would love to partake in the celebrations of Thiruvalluvar day, then redBus offers you mode of travel to your desired destination. You can now book a bus ticket online via redBus by logging on to their website or app and find the quickest and easiest mode of transport. Log on to the website or app and participate in the celebrations.
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