Sunday, April 14, 2024

Festivals & Fairs


Muslim Festivals

The Kandoori festival is celebrated in the month of Rabivassani. The ancient  mosque at Pottalpudur  in Tirunelveli district  in respect of sanctity as famous as the mosque at Nagore in Thanjavur  district. The former  mosque is dedicated to Mohideen Andavur who is said to be descendant of the prophet. A close disciple of his, by name Olivilla Kadhari is believed to have built this mosque  in Pottal pudur. The Kondoori festival lasts for eleven days and is  marked by daily prayers at the mosque. Many of the festival have the features of the ceremonies performed on the Hindu temples.

Holy ash made of turmeric, ghee and sandal is distributed at this festival to the devotees. Devotees offer their prayers and make contributions  in money and in silver models of limbs, eyes, etc. to thank God for fulfillment of their vows. Devotees who have some bodily ailments  appeal to the Andavar and take vows that on restoration to normal health. They would make suitable presents. Sheep and fowl are sacrificed. Sandal paste prepared in large quantities is offered to Andavar and then distributed to the eager crowds of the Hindus and Muslims. At Nagore, there is a shrine for Saint Hazeroth Sayid Shake Hamid Quadir Wali  who is believed to confer his blessings profusely, on his worshippers, irrespective of their faith. Many miracles are attributed to the Saint such as saving the crew of leaky ship.

Offerings made at this shrine  include flower, sandal paste, sugar, incense and money. On one of the days of the festival, one of the descendants of the saint  is chosen as a peer or spiritual leader and honoured with offerings.

The tenth day is very important for anointing Saint's tomb with sandal-paste. Sandal is placed in a silver vessel, put in a Chandanakkoodu or decorated chariot. The High priest or Kaleefa  performs the anointing ceremony. Afterwards he becomes unconscious and is carried home  with police escort. On regaining consciousness, he distributes sandal paste to the waiting public.