Aadi Festivals

Aadi is the fourth month in the Tamil Calendar. It marks the beginning of the six month period of the sun rising in the South-East of the Equator also called the Dakshinayana. Aadi, considered inauspicious for personal celebrations such as weddings, house warming etc., is on the contrary the month of the biggest number of religious celebrations. It is a special month for women to connect themselves to the divine power. If one is in Tamil Nadu during this month, one cannot miss the loudspeakers blaring devotional songs and the huge cut-outs of Gods and Goddesses. Some of the religious celebrations include Velaku Poojai, a celebration where women gather at a temple and do a puja in a straight line leading to a lamp. Thee Mithithal is a ritual where men walk on fire in front of a temple, Koozh Ootrudhal is the distribution of raagi (finger millet) porridge as prasad given to the devotees at the temple on Fridays, Maa vilakku, is the gathering of women with laddus (circular sweets ) of jiggery and rice. They light a lamp in the centre and the sweets are first offered during the puja and are then distributed to devotees later on. Puthhuku Paal Varthal is a snake worship. The temples have replicas of snake dens which are worshipped during this day.  And lastly all the deities of this festival are beautifully decorated and are taken on a chariot in processions for all those who want to seek their blessings in the neighbouring areas.

The important festivals include

Aadi Pirapu: The beginning day of the month is marked with the decorating of the house with mango leaves on the door frames and beautiful big kolams at the entrance of the house. These kolams  are bordered with brick powder. A puja is then performed in the morning followed by a feast of special delicacies including payasam, vadai etc. An important custom on this day is the changing of the yellow thread of women in their “Thali”. This month is also more significant in a household where the daughter is newly married, as they are brought back to the groom’s house on this day. This is done to avoid the conception of the first grandchild to be born between the months of April and May, considered the hottest months in Tamil Nadu.

Aadi perukku: Also called as padinettam perukku, is celebrated on the 18th day of this month. People pay their tributes to water bodies like rivers, lakes as well as temple tanks etc. They celebrate the rising of water levels due to the onset of the monsoon. Therefore this festival is a very special one in the Kaveri delta region. Mulaipari is an important festival in the villages of India. It’s a procession in which women walk towards a river-bed carrying pots of sprouted and germinated Navadhanya (9 types of grains). Goddess Parvathi is worshipped on this day while Chitrannam, (varieties of rice with different flavors) is offered during the prayer time and is distributed to the family members after the puja at the river bank.

Aadi Pooram: This festival is celebrated on the day of Pooram star of this month. Amongst the Vaishnavites, this day is called Aandal Jayanthi, an incarnation of Mahalakshmi. In Srivilliputhur, the birth place of goddess Aandal, the consort of Vishnu, it is celebrated as a 10 day festival as Aadi Brhamotsavam. On the 10th day, the Pooram day, the divine marriage of the God and Goddess is staged.  Amongst the Shivaites, this day is celebrated as Valaikaapu festival, where glass bangles are offered to the Goddess and distributed among the devotees.

Varalakshmi Puja: Unlike the other aadi festivals, this is celebrated at home. This puja is celebrated on the Friday before the full moon day of this month. The term Varalakshmi means the Goddess who grants boons. The worship of Mahalakshmi in the form of Varalakshmi on this day provides all the benefits of worshipping Ashtalakshmi. Hence married women strictly perform this puja for the wellbeing of their family members. The Goddess is worshipped in the form of Kalasam a pot, decorated with the face of goddess Ambaal on a coconut and placed on top of rice and banana leaves while a Maakolam is drawn in the front. The puja is performed by the ladies of the house chanting Lakshmi Shasranamam and other slokas. In the evening, the neighboring married women are invited to the house and the distribution of Thambulam (return gift) is done.

Apart from the festivals mentioned above, monthly puja days like Kirthigai dedicated to lord muruga, Amavasya (No Moon day) and weekly puja days like Tuesday (Aadi Chevvai) and Friday (Aadi Velli) are also more specially celebrated during the aadi festival.