Tamil culture is the culture of the Tamil people. Tamil culture is rooted in the arts and ways of life of Tamils in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and across the globe. Tamil culture is expressed in language, literature, music, dance, theatre, folk arts, martial arts, painting, sculpture, architecture, sports, media, comedy, cuisine, costumes, celebrations, philosophy, religions, traditions, rituals, organizations, science, and technology.
Tamils have strong attachment to the Tamil language, which is often venerated in literature as "Tamil̲an̲n̲ai", "the Tamil mother". It has historically been, and to large extent still is, central to the Tamil identity. Like the other languages of South India, it is a [[Tamilians languages[Tamil language]], unrelated to the Indo-European languages of northern India. The Tamil language preserves many features of Tamilian, though modern-day spoken Tamil in Tamil Nadu freely uses loanwords from Sanskrit and English and vice-versa. Tamil literature is of considerable antiquity, and is recognised as a classical language by the government of India. Classical Tamil literature, which ranges from lyric poetry to works on poetics and ethical philosophy, is remarkably different from contemporary and later literature in other Indian languages, and represents the oldest body of secular literature in South-east Asia.
Ancient Tamil grammatical works Tolkappiyam, the ten anthologies Pattuppāṭṭu, the eight anthologies Eṭṭuttokai sheds light on early religion of ancient Dravidian people. Murugan was glorified as, the god of war, who is ever young and resplendent, as the favored god of the Tamils. Sivan was also seen as the supreme God. Early iconography of Murugan and Sivan and their association with native flora and fauna goes back to Indus Valley Civilization.  The Sangam landscape was classified into five categories, thinais, based on the mood, the season and the land. Tolkappiyam, mentions that each of these thinai had an associated deity such Seyyon in Kurinji-the hills, Thirumaal in Mullai-the forests, and Venthan in Marutham-the plains, Kotravai in Palai-the deesert and Wanji-ko/kadalon in the Neithal-the coasts and the seas. Other gods mentioned were Mayyon and Vaali who were all assimilated into Hinduism over time. Dravidian influence on early Vedic religion is evident, many of these features are already present in the oldest known Indo-Aryan language, the language of the Rigveda (c. 1500 BCE), which also includes over a dozen words borrowed from Dravidian. This represents an early religious and cultural fusion[note 1] or synthesis between ancient Dravidians and Indo-Aryans, which became more evident over time with sacred iconography, flora and fauna that went on to influence Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism
About 88% of the population of Tamil Nadu are Hindus. Christians and Muslims account for 6% and 5.5% respectively. The majority of Muslims in Tamil Nadu speak Tamil, with less than 15% of them reporting Urdu as their mother tongue. Tamil Jains number only a few thousand now. Atheist, rationalist, and humanist philosophies are also adhered by sizeable minorities, as a result of Tamil cultural revivalism in the 20th century, and its antipathy to what it saw as Brahminical Hinduism.
The most popular deity is Murugan, he is known as the patron god of the Tamils and is also called "Tamil Kadavul" (Tamil God). In Tamil tradition, Murugan is the youngest son and Ganesha/Pillayar is the eldest son of Shiva/Sivan, and it is different from the North Indian tradition, which represents Murugan as the eldest son. The goddess Parvati is often depicted as a goddess with green skin complexion in Tamil Hindu tradition. The worship of Amman, also called Mariamman, is thought to have been derived from an ancient mother goddess, is also very common. Kan̲n̲agi, the heroine of the Cilappatikār̲am, is worshipped as Pattin̲i by many Tamils, particularly in Sri Lanka. There are also many followers of Ayyavazhi in Tamil Nadu, mainly in the southern districts. In addition, there are many temples and devotees of Vishnu, Siva, Ganapathi, and the other Hindu deities. Muslims across Tamil Nadu follow Hanafi and Shafi'i schools. Most Tamil Muslims are Shadhilis. Erwadi in Ramanathapuram district and Nagore in Nagapattinam district are the major pilgrimage centres for Muslims in Tamil Nadu.
The most important Tamil festivals are Pongal, a harvest festival that occurs in mid-January, and Varudapirappu, the Tamil New Year, which occurs on 14 April. Both are celebrated by almost all Tamils, regardless of religion. The Hindu festival Deepavali is celebrated with fanfare; other local Hindu festivals include Thaipusam, Panguni Uttiram, and Adiperukku. While Adiperukku is celebrated with more pomp in the Cauvery region than in others, the Ayyavazhi Festival, Ayya Vaikunda Avataram, is predominantly celebrated in the southern districts of Kanyakumari District, Tirunelveli, and Thoothukudi.
In rural Tamil Nadu, many local deities, called aiyyan̲ārs, are thought to be the spirits of local heroes who protect the village from harm. Their worship often centres around nadukkal, stones erected in memory of heroes who died in battle. This form of worship is mentioned frequently in classical literature and appears to be the surviving remnants of an ancient Tamil tradition.
Various martial arts including Kuttu Varisai, Varma Kalai, Silambam, Adithada, Malyutham and Kalarippayattu, are practised in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The warm-up phase includes yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. Silambam originated in ancient Tamilakam and was patronized by the Pandyans, Cholas and Cheras, who ruled over this region. Silapathiharam a Tamil literature from the 2nd century AD, refers to the sale of Silamabam instructions, weapons and equipment to foreign traders. Since the early Sangam age, there was a warlike culture in South India. War was regarded as an honorable sacrifice and fallen heroes and kings were worshiped in the form of a Hero stone. Each warrior was trained in martial arts, horse riding and specialized in two of the weapons of that period Vel (spear) Val (sword) and Vil (bow). Heroic martyrdom was glorified in ancient Tamil literature. The Tamil kings and warriors followed an honour code similar to that of Japanese Samurais and committed suicide to save the honor. The forms of martial suicide were known as Avipalli, Thannai, Verttal, Marakkanchi, Vatakkiruttal and Punkilithu Mudiyum Maram. Avipalli was mentioned in all the works except Veera Soliyam. It was a self-sacrifice of a warrior to the goddess of war for the victory of his commander. The Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka reflected some elements of Tamil martial traditions which included worship of fallen heroes (Maaveerar Naal) and practice of martial suicide. They carried a Suicide pill around their neck to escape the captivity and torture. A remarkable feature besides to their willingness to sacrifice is, that they were well organized and disciplined. It was forbidden for the rebels to consume tobaccos, alcohols, drugs and to have sexual relationship.
The Wootz steel originated in South India and Sri Lanka. There are several ancient Tamil, Greek, Chinese and Roman literary references to high carbon Indian steel since the time of Alexander's India campaign. The crucible steel production process started in the sixth century BC, at production sites of Kodumanal in Tamil Nadu, Golconda in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Sri Lanka and exported globally; the Tamils of the Chera Dynasty producing what was termed the finest steel in the world, i.e. Seric Iron to the Romans, Egyptians, Chinese and Arabs by 500 BC. The steel was exported as cakes of steely iron that came to be known as "Wootz."
The Tamilakam method was to heat black magnetite ore in the presence of carbon in a sealed clay crucible inside a charcoal furnace. An alternative was to smelt the ore first to give wrought iron, then heated and hammered to be rid of slag. The carbon source was bamboo and leaves from plants such as Avārai. The Chinese and locals in Sri Lanka adopted the production methods of creating Wootz steel from the Chera Tamils by the 5th century BC. In Sri Lanka, this early steel-making method employed a unique wind furnace, driven by the monsoon winds, capable of producing high-carbon steel and production sites from antiquity have emerged, in places such as Anuradhapura, Tissamaharama and Samanalawewa, as well as imported artifacts of ancient iron and steel from Kodumanal. A 200 BC Tamil trade guild in Tissamaharama, in the South East of Sri Lanka, brought with them some of the oldest iron and steel artifacts and production processes to the island from the classical period. The Arabs introduced the South Indian/Sri Lankan wootz steel to Damascus, where an industry developed for making weapons of this steel. The 12th century Arab traveler Edrisi mentioned the "Hinduwani" or Indian steel as the best in the world. Another sign of its reputation is seen in a Persian phrase – to give an "Indian answer", meaning "a cut with an Indian sword." Wootz steel was widely exported and traded throughout ancient Europe and the Arab world, and became particularly famous in the Middle East.
The most important form of Tamil painting is Tanjore painting, which originated in Thanjavur in the 9th century. The painting's base is made of cloth and coated with zinc oxide, over which the image is painted using dyes; it is then decorated with semi-precious stones, as well as silver or gold thread. A style which is related in origin, but which exhibits significant differences in execution, is used for painting murals on temple walls; the most notable example are the murals on the Kutal Azhakar and Meenakshi temples of Madurai, the Brihadeeswarar temple of Tanjore.
Tamil country has its own music form called Tamil Pannisai, from which current carnatic music evolved. Has its own music troops like Urumi melam, Pandi melam (present day's chenda melam), Mangala Vathiyam, Kailaya vathiyam etc.,. Ancient Tamil works, such as the Silappatikaram, describe a system of music, and a 7th-century Pallava inscription at Kudimiyamalai contains one of the earliest surviving examples of Indian music in notation. Contemporary dance forms such as Bharatanatyam have recent origins but are based older temple dance forms known as Catir Kacceri as practised by courtesans and a class of women known as Devadasis
Contemporary dance forms such as Bharatanatyam have recent origins but are based older temple dance forms known as Catir Kacceri as practised by courtesans and a class of women known as Devadasis One of the Tamil folk dances is karakattam. In its religious form, the dance is performed in front of an image of the goddess Mariamma. The kuravanci is a type of dance-drama, performed by four to eight women. The drama is opened by a woman playing the part of a female soothsayer of the kurava tribe(people of hills and mountains), who tells the story of a lady pining for her lover. The therukoothu, literally meaning "street play", is a form of village theater or folk opera. It is traditionally performed in village squares, with no sets and very simple props. The performances involve songs and dances, and the stories can be either religious or secular. The performances are not formal, and performers often interact with the audience, mocking them, or involving them in the dialogue. Therukkūthu has, in recent times, been very successfully adapted to convey social messages, such as abstinence and anti-caste criticism, as well as information about legal rights, and has spread to other parts of India. Tamil Nadu also has a well developed stage theatre tradition, which has been influenced by western theatre. A number of theatrical companies exist, with repertoires including absurdist, realist, and humorous plays.
Film and theater arts[தொகு]
The theatrical culture that flourished Tamil culture during the classical age. Tamil theatre has a long and varied history whose origins can be traced back almost two millennia to dance-theatre forms like Kotukotti and Pandarangam, which are mentioned in an ancient anthology of poems entitled the Kalingathu Parani.
The predominant theater form of the region is Kattaikkuttu, where performers (historically men) sing, act, dance and are accompanied by musicians on traditional instruments. The majority of performances draw from stories in the Mahabharata, while a few plays take their inspiration from Purana stories.
The modern Tamil film industry originated during the 20th century. Tamil film industry has its headquarters in Chennai and is known under the name Kollywood, it is the second largest film industry in India after Bollywood. Films from Kollywood entertain audiences not only in India but also overseas Tamil diaspora. Tamil films from Chennai have been distributed to various overseas theatres in Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Malaysia, Japan, Oceania, the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America. Inspired by Kollywood originated outside India Independent Tamil film production in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Canada, and western Europe. Several Tamil actresses such as Anuisa Ranjan Vyjayanthimala, Hema Malini, Rekha Ganesan, Sridevi, Meenakshi Sheshadri, and Vidya Balan have acted in Bollywood and dominated the cinema over the years. Some Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu like MG Ramachandran, Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa have their background in Tamil film industry.
In Ancient times, Two bullfighting and bull-racing sports were conducted. 1.Manjuvirattu and 2. Yeruthazhuval. These sports were organised to keep the people's temperament always fit and ready for the war at any time. Each has its own techniques and rules. These sports acted as one of the criteria to marry girls of warrior family. There were traditions where the winner would be chosen as bridegroom for their daughter or sister.
Mr. Gandhirajan, who is a post-graduate in Art History from Madurai-Kamaraj University, said the ancient Tamil tradition was "manju virattu" (chasing bulls) or "eruthu kattuthal" (lassoing bulls) and it was never "jallikattu," that is baiting a bull or controlling it as the custom obtained today. In ancient Tamil country, during the harvest festival, decorated bulls would be let loose on the "peru vazhi" (highway) and the village youth would take pride in chasing them and outrunning them. Women, elders and children would watch the fun from the sidelines of the "peru vazhi" or streets. Nobody was injured in this. Or the village youth would take delight in lassoing the sprinting bulls with "vadam" (rope).
The ancient Tamil art of unarmed bullfighting, popular amongst warriors in the classical period, has also survived in parts of Tamil Nadu, notably Alanganallur near Madurai, where it is known as Jallikattu and is held once a year around the time of the Pongal festival.
- Lockard: "The encounters that resulted from Aryan migration brought together several very different peoples and cultures, reconfiguring Indian society. Over many centuries a fusion of Aryan and Dravidian occurred, a complex process that historians have labeled the Indo-Aryan synthesis." Lockard: "Hinduism can be seen historically as a synthesis of Aryan beliefs with Harappan and other Dravidian traditions that developed over many centuries."
- See Sumathi Ramasamy, Passions of the Tongue, 'Feminising language: Tamil as Goddess, Mother, Maiden' Chapter 3.
- (Ramaswamy 1998)
- Kailasapathy, K. (1979), "The Tamil Purist Movement: A Re-Evaluation", Social Scientist (Social Scientist) 7 (10): 23–51, doi:10.2307/3516775
- See Hart, The Poems of Ancient Tamil: Their Milieu and their Sanskrit Counterparts (1975)
- Kanchan Sinha, Kartikeya in Indian art and literature, Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan (1979).
- Kanchan Sinha, Kartikeya in Indian art and literature, Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan (1979).
- Mahadevan, Iravatham (2006). A Note on the Muruku Sign of the Indus Script in light of the Mayiladuthurai Stone Axe Discovery. harappa.com. http://www.harappa.com/arrow/stone_celt_indus_signs.html.
- Ranbir Vohra (2000). The Making of India: A Historical Survey. M.E. Sharpe. பக். 15.
- Grigorii Maksimovich Bongard-Levin (1985). Ancient Indian Civilization. Arnold-Heinemann. பக். 45.
- Steven Rosen, Graham M. Schweig (2006). Essential Hinduism. Greenwood Publishing Group. பக். 45.
- Basham 1967
- Frederick J. Simoons (1998). Plants of life, plants of death. பக். 363.
- ( [[#CITEREF|]])
- Lockard 2007, பக். 50.
- Lockard 2007, பக். 52.
- Hiltebeitel 2007, பக். 12.
- Tiwari 2002, பக். v.
- Zimmer 1951, பக். 218-219.
- Larson 1995, பக். 81.
- "Census 2001 – Statewise population by Religion". Censusindia.gov.in. பார்த்த நாள் 18 July 2010.
- More, J.B.P. (2007), Muslim identity, print culture and the Dravidian factor in Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad: Orient Longman, பன்னாட்டுத் தரப்புத்தக எண்:81-250-2632-0 at p. xv
- Jain, Dhanesh (2003), "Sociolinguistics of the Indo-Aryan languages", in Cardona, George; Jain, Dhanesh, The Indo-Aryan Languages, Routledge language family series, London: Routledge, pp. 46–66, பன்னாட்டுத் தரப்புத்தக எண்:0-7007-1130-9 at p. 57.
- Total number of Jains in Tamil Nadu was 88,000 in 2001. Directorate of Census Operations – Tamil Nadu, Census, archived from the original on 30 November 2006, https://web.archive.org/web/20061130194120/http://www.census.tn.nic.in/religion.aspx, பார்த்த நாள்: 5 December 2006
- Maloney, Clarence (1975), "Religious Beliefs and Social Hierarchy in Tamiḻ Nāḍu, India", American Ethnologist 2 (1): 169–191, doi:10.1525/ae.1975.2.1.02a00100 at p. 178
- M. Shanmugam Pillai, "Murukan in Cankam Literature: Veriyattu Tribal Worship", First International Conference Seminar on Skanda-Murukan in Chennai, 28–30 December 1998. This article first appeared in the September 1999 issue of The Journal of the Institute of Asian Studies, http://murugan.org/research/shanmugampillai.htm, பார்த்த நாள்: 6 December 2006
- Harold G. Coward,John R. Hinnells,Raymond Brady Williams, The South Asian Religious Diaspora in Britain, Canada, and the United States
- "Principles and Practice of Hindu Religion", Hindu Heritage Study Program, archived from the original on 14 November 2006, https://web.archive.org/web/20061114082702/http://www.bnaiyer.com/hinduism/hist-34.html, பார்த்த நாள்: 5 December 2006
- PK Balachandran, "Tracing the Sri Lanka-Kerala link", Hindustan Times, 23 March 2006, archived from the original on 10 December 2006, https://web.archive.org/web/20061210184751/http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/5983_1657214,00430014.htm, பார்த்த நாள்: 5 December 2006
- Dr. R.Ponnus, Sri Vaikunda Swamigal and the Struggle for Social Equality in South India, (Madurai Kamaraj University) Ram Publishers, Page 98
- Indian Dargah's All Cities
- Information on declaration of holiday on the event of birth anniversary of Vaikundar in The Hindu, The holiday for three Districts: Daily Thanthi, Daily(Tamil), Nagercoil Edition, 5 March 2006
- Mark Jarzombek, "Horse Shrines in Tamil India: Reflections on Modernity", Future Anterior 4 (1): 18–36, doi:10.1353/fta.0.0031, http://web.mit.edu/mmj4/www/downloads/future_ant4_1.pdf
- "'Hero stone' unearthed", The Hindu, 22 July 2006 (Chennai, India), 22 July 2006, http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/22/stories/2006072202680200.htm, பார்த்த நாள்: 5 December 2006
- Zarrilli, Phillip B. (1992) "To Heal and/or To Harm: The Vital Spots in Two South Indian Martial Traditions"
- IN INDIA
- South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka(2003), p. 386.
- Sri Lankan Ethnic Crisis: Towards a Resolution (2002), p. 76.
- Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups, p.252.
- Gerald W. R. Ward.
- Sharada Srinivasan (1994).
- Herbert Henery Coghlan. (1977).
- B. Sasisekharan (1999).
- Hilda Ellis Davidson.
- Burton, Sir Richard Francis (1884). The Book of the Sword. Internet archive: Chatto and Windus. பக். 111. பன்னாட்டுத் தரப்புத்தக எண்:1605204366. https://archive.org/details/booksword00unkngoog.
- Needham, Volume 4, Part 1, p. 282.
- Manning, Charlotte Speir. Ancient and Medieval India. Volume 2. பன்னாட்டுத் தரப்புத்தக எண்:9780543929433. https://books.google.com/books?id=nmESJR3a0RYC&pg=PA365.
- Hobbies - Volume 68, Issue 5 - Page 45.
- Mahathevan, Iravatham (24 June 2010). "An epigraphic perspective on the antiquity of Tamil". The Hindu (The Hindu Group). http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/24/stories/2010062451701100.htm. பார்த்த நாள்: 31 October 2010.
- Ragupathy, P (28 June 2010). "Tissamaharama potsherd evidences ordinary early Tamils among population". Tamilnet (Tamilnet). http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=32303. பார்த்த நாள்: 31 October 2010.
- S. Srinivasan and S. Ranganathan, "WOOTZ STEEL: AN ADVANCED MATERIAL OF THE ANCIENT WORLD", Department of Metallurgy, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
- Sharada Srinivasan; Srinivasa Ranganathan (2004). India's Legendary Wootz Steel: An Advanced Material of the Ancient World. National Institute of Advanced Studies. இணையக் கணினி நூலக மையம்:82439861. https://books.google.com/books?id=R-M6YgEACAAJ.
- Coomaraswamy, A.K., Figures of Speech or Figures of Thought
- "Tanjore – Painting", tanjore.net (Tanjore.net), http://www.tanjore.net/tanjorepainting.htm, பார்த்த நாள்: 4 December 2006
- Nayanthara, S. (2006), The World of Indian murals and paintings, Chillbreeze, பன்னாட்டுத் தரப்புத்தக எண்:81-904055-1-9 at pp.55–57
- Nijenhuis, Emmie te (1974), Indian Music: History and Structure, Leiden: Brill, பன்னாட்டுத் தரப்புத்தக எண்:90-04-03978-3 at pp. 4–5
- Widdess, D. R. (1979), "The Kudumiyamalai inscription: a source of early Indian music in notation", in Picken, Laurence, Musica Asiatica, 2, London: Oxford University Press, pp. 115–150
- Leslie, Julia.
- Sharma, Manorama (2004).
- "Therukoothu". Tamilnadu.com (16 February 2013).
- Tamil Art History, eelavar.com, http://www.eelavar.com/jaffna/pageview.php?ID=578&SID=119, பார்த்த நாள்: 5 December 2006
- Striving hard to revive and refine ethnic dance form, Chennai, India: hindu.com, 11 November 2006, http://www.hindu.com/mp/2006/11/11/stories/2006111100670300.htm, பார்த்த நாள்: 5 December 2006
- "Bhagavata mela", The Hindu, 30 April 2004 (Chennai, India: hindu.com), 30 April 2004, http://www.hindu.com/fr/2004/04/30/stories/2004043001360600.htm, பார்த்த நாள்: 5 December 2006
- ,Dennis Kennedy "The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance, Publisher:Oxford University Press
- Templeton, Tom (26 November 2006), "The states they're in", Guardian, 26 November 2006 (London: guardian.com), http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,,1955127,00.html, பார்த்த நாள்: 5 December 2006
- "Eros buys Tamil film distributor", Business Standard, 6 October 2011, http://www.business-standard.com/indi/storypage.php?autono=290977
- Gau (2001), Google books version of the book A Western Journalist on India: The Ferengi's Columns by François Gautier, பன்னாட்டுத் தரப்புத்தக எண்:978-81-241-0795-9, https://books.google.com/books?id=o56i5ymOIBkC&pg=PA159&dq=jallikattu+history, பார்த்த நாள்: 24 May 2007
- Grushkin, Daniel (22 March 2007), "NY Times: The ritual dates back as far as 2,000 years...", The New York Times, http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/travel/21webletter.html, பார்த்த நாள்: 24 May 2007