Tamil Nadu is a land of Festivals and Culture. Tamilnadu celebrates probably the maximum number of festivals each year. Temple festivals are held in September-October and in the post-harvest months of March-June which last for to three days. These festivals are not only religious occasions but cultural landmarks as well. They have become part of life of the people with families, friends and relatives getting together on such occasions. The deities on every temple festival are decorated with bright costumes and rare and valuable jewels. Some of the major festivals are Pongal, a festival of thanks giving to the Sun, the Earth and the cow, Natyanjali Dance Festival, Kavadi Festival, Karthigai Deepam and Deepavali festival.
List of Festivals in Tamilnadu
- Pongal Festival
- Natyanjali Dance Festival
- Karthigai Deepam Festival
- Deepavali Festival
- Mamallapuram Dance Festival
- Vinayaga Chathurthi Celebration
- Jallikatu Bull Fight
- Mahamagam Festival
- Chitthirai Festival
- Saraswathi Pooja Festival
Famous Festivals in Tamilnadu
1. Pongal Festival
Tamil Nadu is a land of many festivals. January marks the beginning of the festival season in the state. Pongal is the first festival and it is celebrated with much enthusiasm. It is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu. "Pongal" is actually the name of a rice and lentil dish cooked in Tamil Nadu, and on this festive day Pongal is cooked. It is celebrated on January 14, each year. In fact, four festivals are celebrated in Tamil Nadu for four consecutive days in that week. Bhogi is celebrated on January 13, Pongal on Jan 14, Maattu Pongal on Jan 15, and Kannum Pongal and Thiruvalluvar Day on Jan 16.
Pongal is celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month of Thai. It is considered to be an auspicious month. The Sun God is worshipped. In rural areas, people gather in front of their houses and cook pongal in new pots. Stoves are made with clay and wood is used as fuel. When the pongal is almost made, everybody shouts in ecstasy pongal o pongal. When milk is boiled, if it overflows, it is believed to be a sign of a prosperous agricultural during the coming season.
2. Natyanjali Dance Festival
The Natyanjali dance festival at Chidambaram brings together all the prominent dancers of India. They offer their abhinaya and their dance to the Lord Nataraja. To many of them it is like a dream come true, to be able to perform in the vicinity of the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Nataraja's temple, whose padams and varnams they often use creating an imaginary figure of the Lord Nataraja.
This festival opens on the auspicious occasion of the Maha Shivaratri day and of course in the right kind of venue, which is the Prakara of the Chidambaram temple. Similar to Chidambaram Natyanjali in Mayiladuthurai Mayura Natyanjali a grand dance festival is celebrated during the time of Maha Shivaratri.
3. Karthikai Deepam
The Karthikai Deepam festival marks the conclusion of the ten day Brahmotsavam in the Tamil month of Karthikai. This event beats the Tirupathi Brahmotsavam in attracting number of devotees to the temple. On 1st of December 2009 around 3 million people participated to celebrate the Maha Deepam in the city of Tiruvannamalai. Four Brahmotsavams are celebrated every year, the most famous of which is the one celebrated during the Tamil month of Karthigai (November/December).
This ten day event culminates on the day of Karthigai Deepam and on that evening, a huge lamp is lit in a cauldron with three tons of ghee at the top of the Annamalai hill. Every full moon night, tens of thousands of pilgrims worship Shiva by circumambulating the Arunachala hill barefoot. The circumambulation covers a distance of about 15 km. On the yearly Chitra Powrnami (full moon) night in the Tamil calendar year, lakhs of pilgrims come from across the world to worship Him. The height of the Arunachala hill is approximately 1600 feet.
4. Deepavali Festival
This is the most important festival that brings joy to both the rich and the poor. This is also called "Naraka Chathurdasi", on which day the fearsome giant Narakasura was killed by Lord Krishna. According to his last wishes his death day is celebrated with festivity. People take oil bath in the early hours of the day, called "Ganga Snanam" or holy dip in the Ganges, wear new clothes, fire crackers and eat sweets. The following new moon day is observed as "Kethara Gowri Viratham" and ladies observe this for the longevity of their husbands. In North India, it is observed as Ramlila on which day great fireworks are a feast to the eyes; they mark the defeat of Ravan by Sri Rama. It is said that it is a day of triumph of the good over the evil. In the North, lamps are also lit in a row in the houses. "Deepam" means lamp and "Avali" means row. On this day, sweets are prepared and distributed. People visit temples in large numbers on this day.
5. Vinayaga Chathurthi Celebration
Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the important Hindu festivals celebrated throughout India with a great devotion. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesh is the symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on Shukla Chaturthi of the Hindu month of Bhadra (generally falls between August and September). This festival is celebrated by Hindus with a great enthusiasm. People bring idols of Lord Ganesh to their homes and do worship. The duration of this festival varies from 1 day to 11 days, depending on the place and tradition. On the last day of the festival the idols are taken out in a colorful and musical procession and immersed traditionally in water.
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