Saturday, March 2, 2024

Festivals & Fairs

Festivals - Hindus | Christians | Muslims


Vaishnava Festivals

Garudotsavam at Kancheepuram Varadarajaswami temple is a grand sight. Generations of devotees have made it a point not to miss even a single Garudotsavam. On Vaikasi Visakam day, which is the birthday of Nammalwar, the lord visits the Nammalwar shrine and bless him.

In the month of Ani, the full moon is in the Jyesta constellation-Kettai in Tamil. On this day, Jyesta Abishekam  in srirangam, flot festival in Mannargudi  and padi Utsavam  or festival of steps  at the Alagar  Temple  near Madurai are celebrated.

Padinettam Perukku or flood of the eighteenth is a festival  which occurs on the18th of the Tamil month, Adi and is celebrated  by people  living  in the Cauvery delta. The Cauvery will be in full floods on that day, over flowing  its banks  and submerging all the flights of steps at the innumerable bathing  Ghats all along the course of the river, in the districts of Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur. This is a festival peculiar to the Cauvery in Tamil Nadu.

Even two or three days ahead of this festival Chapparams are  exhibited  for sale all along the approaches to the river. Chapparams are miniature  temple  chariots on tiny wooden  wheels  with tapering  towers  artistically decorated with glittering  paper and cut flowers  with a niche in the centre, where pictures of gods and goddess  can be  mounted. From early morning on Padinettam Perukku  day, the children  would drag these tiny chariots along the metalled streets. In the evening the children  put lighted candles in the niches of the chapparams and drag them again along the streets.

Worship takes on many forms, according to the customs prevalent among the different communities that constitute the Hindu fold. People of some communities make images out of mud, offer it kumkum, saffron, sandal paste, incense and gur-mixed rice and coconut called Kappirisi. It is the custom on tgis occasion to wear a saffron dyed thread ,married couples tying it to each other. Bangles, black beads etc. are thrown as offerings to the river Goddess and after chewing betal leaves, women  and children return  home. Some married  couples  deposit  into the river, the garlands  they had worn during their marriage. 

After morning bath in the Cauvery, the Brahmins  offer her flowers and milk  and to mark the occasion, they prepare and partake of sweet payasamm in their homes. In the evening women  and children go out to the river-front  with prepared Chitrannam  variegated rice food and after offering some  to their river goddess, eating the prepared food and return home. The Padinettam Perukku is essentially a women's and children's  festival .

It is customary, on this auspicious day to throw, bundle of old cadjan  leaf manuscripts which are worn out into the river, instead  of offering them to the fire. Gods and goddess are taken from the temple  around noon to the mantapas on the Cauvery banks  during this festival.