Celebrate Puthandu, the Tamil New YearVIEW EVENT DETAILS
The Tamil New Year is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu Solar Calendar. Popularly known as Puthandu, the Tamil New Year is celebrated with feasts in Hindu homes, and the houses' entrances are decorated elaborately with kolams. Every year in Chithrai (the first month of the Hindu calendar), Tamil New Year is observed with much gaiety and fervor. Come learn more about the enchanting state of Tamil Nadu, which is known for its uniqueness in terms of rituals, culture, and religious values. This joyous event will be marked with special performances by South Indian artists. We will have a book reading, a jazz musical performance, drums, and many folk art activities from the region. This immersive event will include the following:
- Singer Shalini Lakshmi and Jazz pianist Manu Koch will take us through the soundscapes of Tamil Nadu that will feature 17th-century Carnatic music and poetry focusing on the Hindu philosophy of unity.
- Author Padma Venkatraman will take you on a brief tour of Tamil literature and language and introduce you to work by Tamil-American writers for young readers, including her books.
- NY Parai Esai Troupe will take us through traditional Tamil drum tunes that could inspire us to dance!
- Food Tasting: Taste popular Tamil snacks made of lentils and rice
- Arts and Crafts: Have fun with various art activities from the region, including Kolam drawing, designing your own Manjapai, and palm tree leaf art!
Padma Venkatraman is the author of Born Behind Bars, The Bridge Home, A Time to Dance, Island's End, and Climbing the Stairs. She is the winner of a WNDB Walter Dean Myers Award, Golden Kite Award, Crystal Kite Award, two Nerdy Book Awards, two Paterson Prizes, two Julia Ward Howe awards, three South Asia Book Awards, and many other awards and honors. Her novels have been shortlisted for over 20 state awards, received over 20 starred reviews, and appeared on numerous best-book lists. She has presented keynote addresses, conducted writing workshops, and attended festivals and conferences worldwide. She is the founder of www.diverseverse.com and www.authorstakeaction.com. Visit her at www.padmavenkatraman.com.
Shalini Lakshmi is a phenomenally talented singer whose unique and evocative singing combines Carnatic, Hindustani, Rock, R&B, Jazz, and Operatic singing styles. Vintage Guitar Magazine praised her singing, saying, “Shalini Lakshmi adds luster” in Prasanna’s album All Terrain Guitar. Shalini recorded with A. R. Rahman singing the title track for the Hollywood film “Hundred-Foot Journey.” She has also recorded Prasanna’s acclaimed score for the Indian National Award-winning blockbuster Tamil film Vazhakku Enn 18/9. Four-time Grammy Award-winning singer/bassist Esperanza Spalding invited Shalini to premiere her original song Vapor at the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival. She has also recorded a song for noted Cannes film festival-winning composer Pierre Van Dormael for the French film Essaye Moi by Pierre Francois Martin.
Akṣarā's mission is to promote Indian cultural literacy through the arts. Akṣarā helps bring to the fore-front traditional and contemporary ideas and thoughts about Indian culture in creative and meaningful ways. Its carefully curated events and education programs are designed to create deep cultural learning. Akṣarā is an initiative by Yellospot Designs, a New York City-based company that helps foster the habit of creative thinking. For more information about Akṣarā’s work please visit www.aksara.us.