Thiruvalluvar Day 2021: History, significance and all you need to know about the iconic poet

Context: Tamil Nadu celebrates Thiruvalluvar Day today (15th Jan) in honour of the Saint Poet Thiruvalluvar.


  • Thiruvalluvar, a poet and philosopher, is regarded as a cultural icon by Tamils.
  • His most popular work is Thirukku?a?, a collection of couplets on ethics, politics, economy and love.
  • Thiruvalluvar Day was first celebrated on May 17 and 18 in 1935.
  • In the present time, it is usually observed either on January 15 or 16 in Tamil Nadu and is a part of Pongal celebrations.

Who is Thiruvalluvar?

  • While not much is known about Thiruvalluvar’s life, speculations about it have been largely deduced from his work Thirukkural and other Tamil texts.
  • Earliest references of the poet are found in the text Tiruvalluva Maalai.
  • Legends say he may have lived in the town of Mylapore, a neighbourhood in present-day Chennai and flourished between the 4th century and 6th century.
  • Though the period in which he lived is also widely debated with some accounts saying that he lived from 8th to 9th century.
  • Thiruvalluvar’s primary work Thirukkural contains 1330 couplets (kurals) that are divided into 133 sections of 10 couplets each.
  • The text is divided into three parts with teachings on dharma, artha, and kama (virtue, wealth and love).
  • A statue of Valluvar was also erected outside the School of Oriental and African Studies in Russell Square, London.

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