Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Andhra Pradesh

Fairs and Festivals


Festivals

Pitru Amavasya or Mahalaya Amavasya

This is celebrated on the Amavasya day in the month of Bhadrapada.  When the sun is in the zodiacal sign of Kanya or virgo and in conjunction with the moon.  It is a very auspicious day for offering oblations to the pitris that is names of the departed ancestors.

The whole fortnight called pitri pakshas i.e. the fortnight preceding Amavasya is sacred for propitiating departed souls.  People go to sacred rivers like Ganga in North India, Godavari and Krishna in Andhra and Kaveri in South India to offer oblations and pindas to their ancestors.  All Hindus take it to be an auspicious day, the twice born  that is dwijas and particularly Brahmins perform the rituals on an elaborate scale according to the rules laid down in religious manuals.  The lower castes and particularly the poor people remain content with the offer of a day's ration called Sahityam or Swayampakam (food cooked one self) to their family priest in the name of their departed ancestors.  The eatables and special dishes are prepared according  to the means of the family.  Non vegetarians drink liquor and eat meat for the satisfaction of the departed ancestor.

Bhishama Ekadashi

Bhishama Ekadashi Bhishma Ekadashi is dedicated to Bhishma the grand old warrior of Kurukshetra and the son of Ganga and Shantanu.  This festival is celebrated on the eleventh day of the bright fortnight in the month of Magha. Only pious Brahmins and well-read Kshatriyas observe this day. As Bhishma died childless, the observers think that  it was their duty to make libations of water to his spirit.  Brahmins observe a fast, to perform puja to Bhishma and break their fast on Dwadasi, is the subsequent day by parajama a feast.  Kshatriyas invite their priests and hear the story of Bhishma's life and give them provisions and money.

Margazh

Margazh is an important festival observed by Vaishnavites.  They are the followers of Ramanuja.  It is observed during the whole month of Margasira. It is dedicated to Andal also called Godavere or Chudukuduta, one of the twelve Alwars or Vaishmavite saints.  She loved Lord Ranganatha and become one with him. On this day everyone gets up early in the morning before 4.00 am, they bathe and go to a Vaishnava temple to attend puja.  This continues for one month and the festival concludes with the celebration of the wedding of Godavari with Lord Ranganatha.  This is done on grand scale and with great devotion.

Kechadmaru

  Kechadmaru is celebrated by the tribals called Mathuras who inhabit Utmur Taluq in Adilbad district.  This festival is meant, for unmarried girls.  This is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Shravana.  All the unmarried girls of the village gather at the Naik's house on that day and sings songs in the name of the guru to the accompaniment of drums and eat gogri (mixture of wheat or bengal gram and jaggery).  All the girls dance in the morning and evening for nine days.  On the the tenth day they get clay, wheat or bengal gram and wet them with water.  The clay is placed on the patasa leaves.  This ritual is known as Dhovi.  This wheat or bengal gram is sown in this clay.  The girls continue singing till the next full moon day in Rakhi Purnima.  They tie the rakhi to the Mathura men present there.  The men folk offer presents to the girls.  The group singing continues for three days.  On the third day, the girls observe a fast and each one of the unmarried girls prepares feminine idol in her house and worship it.  After the worship, the fast is broken. This is called Teez. In the morning of the following day, the brothers of the girls, kick away the clay idols of their respective sisters.  Then the girls take the idols to front-yard of the Naik's house and keep them there.  All the Mathura men folk, young and old, gather at the Naik's house and dance around these idols.  The Naik offers them tea and paan.  The girls collect the idols, remove the seedlings from the clay and later the clay is immersed in the nearby stream.  The girls take' purampuri' with them and eat it here.  The seedlings are distributed among the male members after they return to their houses.  The men offer some presents and with that the festival concludes. 

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