Thiruvalluvar Day is a public holiday in the state of Tamil Nadu, falling on 15 January. However, on leap years, it falls on 16 January. Thiruvalluvar Day is a part of the larger days-long celebration called “Pongal Festival”.
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The day is dedicated to the memory of famed Tamil scholar and poet, “Saint Thiruvalluvar”, who contributed both poetry and a major work on ethics to the Tamil literary tradition. Thiruvalluvar lived well over 2,000 years ago, but his legacy of philosophy and art continues to impact Indian culture to this day.
On Thiruvalluvar Day, a kind of a family reunion takes place among Tamil Nadu families, wherein elders are honoured. In return, the elders speak blessings on younger family members and may also give out gifts of money. It is also customary for women to offer multi-coloured food to birds, laid out for them on banana leaves or other greenery.
A statue of Thiruvalluvar, located in Chennai, is also a centre of attention on Thiruvalluvar Day. It is carved out of solid granite and is designed to look like a Dravidian temple. Garlands are laid down at this statue on Thiruvalluvar Day.