Saturday, July 20, 2024

Fairs and Festivals

  ❯  Festivals in Pondicherry   ❯  Festivals in Karaikkal   ❯  Festivals in Mahe   ❯  Festival Calendar

Pondicherry is an abode of temples dedicated to Lord Sulramaniar and various forms of ammans viz, Muthumariamman, Angalamman etc. The famous fire walking and Sedal festival are generally the most important festivals of these temples.            

Fire walking
Those who vow to take part in the fire walking ordeal observe 40 days fast and wear saffron coloured clothes and after a purificatory bath, walk through the fire stretch to the astonishment of the spectators.


The famous sedal is understood to mean self-imposed physical torture undertaken by devotees who pierce small silver hooks and spears in their body or tongues in fulfillment of some vow. It is said that as many as 100 needles are pierced over their body. They then go in a procession after a bath, clad in turmeric stained clothes.

Mascarade festival

Mascarade or Mask festival is celebrated sometime during March-April in Pondicherry. It reflects one more facet of the French sense of humor. With unique masks and fancy costumes, revelers go round the streets in joyous merriment indulging in a kind of gimmick, dance to the accompaniment of beating accordion and trumpets. Earlier there were lot of clubs participating but now the participants are only a few.

International Yoga Festival 

Yogis and Yoginis from the world over assemble in Pondicherry from the 4th to the 7th January every year. Through live show and talks, display and sample of the varied yogic food and Indian dance and music, they keep alive the art of Yoga and its science. Read more

Masi Magam Festival

Masi Magam Festival, PondicherryAnother important festival is 'Masi Magam Festival'- on the Full moon day of the 'Magam' asterism in the Tamil month of Masi (Feb-March). Thousands of people in good faith go the sea shore in the early morning to have a holy dip in the sea for ablution of their sins.

Deities from as many as fifty temples in Pondicherry and from the outlying areas of Tamil Nadu are brought in ceremonial procession to the sea-shore with accompaniment of Nadhaswaram near Kuruchikuppam in Pondicherry municipal area for the symbolic immersion. Pondicherry will wear a festive galore from early morning to the late night of the day. The deities which are taken to the shore early morning make their return journey to their respective places in procession along the streets of Pondicherry in the evening.

In Thirukannapuram village in Tamil Nadu area there is a saying that deity of Sowriraja Perumal married a fishermen community woman and hence the moment the deity enters the village  fishermen take charge of the deity, and after the festival is completed the charges are replaced.

Summer Festival (Chitrai kalai Vizha)

Department of Art & Culture, Government of Puducherry organizes Indian Classical music and dances in various places of Puducherry during Summer festival held during March- April.

Villianur Temple car festival

The architecturally splendid Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswara Temple at Villianur, 10kms from Pondicherry, holds a ten-day annual festival (Brahmotsavam) during May-June. On the 9th day of the festival, the bedecked massive 15m tall temple chariot, taken out on a procession by a devout crowd, is a remarkable sight. 

Bastille Day

July 14th celebrated as the Bastille Day, witnesses an Indo-French pageantry at Puducherry. On this day retired soldiers parade the streets in war finery, singing the French and Indian National Anthem.

Veerampattinam Car festival 

In the month of August, there is another famous car festival celebrated in Veerampattinam, a fishing village near Ariyankuppam. On this day the temple car with the image of the god basking in finery is paraded around the village.

Fete De Pondicherry 

Government of Puducherry organizes a cultural fete at various locales in Puducherry, coinciding with Liberation Day and Independence Day.  

Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Anniversary

Besides Independence day, people of Pondicherry also celebrate Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Anniversary on 15th of August. On this day, devotees queue up at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for paying homage to the great soul. 

Other festivals or fairs celebrated in Pondicherry include Putha Lanthira, Mandolilthira, Koyodan Korothithra, Pandokuloththira, Mandalam vilakku, vishnutheertham, Swamikalyanam, etc.

Festivals in Karaikal :

Festivals/fairs of Karaikal, located 150 kms south of Pondicherry in Tamil Nadu itself, include one in Karaikal Ammayur temple which holds the annual 'Mangani' festival (July) which is a well attended 'Mela', as also Kandoori festival celebrated by Karaikal Durga  and the Feast of our lady of Lourdes celebrated by our lady of Lourdes church. 

Festivals in Mahe :

Mahe district which is situated 653 km away on the West Coast in Kerala, celebrate festivals similar to Kerala like Onam, Vishu, Sri Krishna Jayanti, Vinayaga Chathurthi etc. The St. Theresa Church in Mahe celebrates St.Theresa festival in October every year which is attended by even non-Christians.

Bhagavathi temple which conducts 'Thiraiyattam' which is a kind of dance of ancient art coupled with divinity is another worth mentioning celebration.