The southern state of Tamil Nadu is steeped in culture, history, and religion. It has been a favorite haunt of pilgrims as it is home to numerous historically significant temples too. Religious festivals take up a large part of the calendar here with some festivity or the other always round the corner.
Tamil Nadu is deeply entrenched in mythology and history with numerous legends to feed the curiosity of the visitor. When visiting this state, you can rest assured that there will be some festival or the other being celebrated somewhere nearby! Here are some of the famous festivals of Tamil Nadu:
Pongal – This festival is celebrated in mid-January of the year, in the Tamil month of ‘Thai’. The colorful festival of Pongal is celebrated for four days and is considered as the most important festival of Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated at the end of the harvest season with peace offerings, exchange of gifts and prayers for another good harvest. The days of Pongal are celebrated as Bogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal (cows are worshipped) and Kaanum Pongal (gifts are given to servants).
Chithirai – This festival is also known as Chithirai Thiruvizha and is celebrated in the famed temple city of Madurai. The festivities go on for a month and it’s possibly the longest festival in the world. It celebrates the celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati) with Lord Sundareshwarar (Lord Shiva). Millions of devotees throng the streets of Madurai to witness the temple deities being carried in processions within the city.
,strong>Puthandu – Like many other Indian states, Tamil Nadu also has its own unique New Year celebration. It falls on the 14nth day of April of the Gregorian calendar and the day begins with the sight of ‘kanni’, which is believed to usher in prosperity throughout the year. The kanni consists of gold jewels, predominantly yellow fruits, and yellow vegetables, rice, flowers and money. A colorful ‘kolam’ is made in front of the main door with rice powder and the doorway is decorated with a string of fresh mango leaves.
Mahamaham – This grand festival is celebrated only once in twelve years in Kumbakonam of Tamil Nadu. Mahamagam is a Hindu festival where lakhs of devotees take a dip in the Kumbakonam tank. All the holy rivers of India are believed to meet in this tank and a dip in these waters is equivalent to dips in all the holy rivers.
There are similar interesting stories behind numerous other festivals of Tamil Nadu, so a visit here can get really interesting!