(image courtesy – subbu’s kitchen – where you can find some yummy recipes as well for this festival)
Today is Padhinettaam Peru, or as some people call it Aadi perukku – the 18th day of the Tamizh month of Aadi (mid july – mid aug in the Julian Calendar). On the average year, this is a typical spring day. This is celebrated as a Spring Harvest Holiday. This is not a typical harvest festival to thank the Gods – that is Pongal (Sankranthi). The ritual in this festival is to make simple mixed rice dishes (such as lemon rice, tamarind rice, etc), take it to a river bank or beach, and have a picnic. I kid you not, that is the ritual, and people did it a thousand years ago, and still do it. What a beautiful culture that we have.
If you want a detailed description, read the first chapter of Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki Krishnamurthy. The first scene is when the protagonist, Vandhiyathevan rides into the sunset, along the banks of the Veeranarayana Lake, fed by the Ponni river.
If you just want to read an abridged version, here is my PS-Chapter-1.
Tomorrow is Thiruvadarai, a festival in the Southern parts of India. Anyone familiar with the festival, first recollects the kali and the multi-thaan kuzhambu that is made with this. It is unspoken fact that, everyone eats the kali (which is a pretty bland sweet kichdi kind of rice-dish) only for the specatucular kuzhambu that is made along with this. Anyway, I thought I would give some salient facts about this festival here:
Thiruvadarai comes from the name of the star Arudra. This is one of two stars, which have the salutation Thiru in front of it (the other is Thiruvonam). Maybe the salutation is given because, ancient astronomical texts say that this star is H.U.G.E (apparently 2 and one half crore times bigger than the sun).
This festival is attributed to Lord Shiva – especially Nataraja. It is believed that the cosmic dance performed by Lord Nataraja is manifested in the light shown by this star.(Thiruvonam is attributed for Lord Vishnu).
It is famous for its kali (see recipe here) and the ultimate ezhu thaan (7 vegetables) kuzhambu (see recipe here).
Special abhishekam performed in Chidamabaram for Lord Nataraja.
It happens to be the birthday of Saint Manickavasagar, and is celebrated at Thiruperundurai.
In Sirgazhi (aka Sirkali), it is known for the birth anniversary of Saint Thiru Gnana Sambandar, who as a baby was breast-fed by the Goddess Parvati herself.
Now that you know all the facts, go and enjoy the kali-kuzhambu deadly combination 🙂 Happy Thiruvadarai all.
Note: This year, Thiruvadarai happens to be on Jan 10. It may fall on nearby dates on different years of the Gregorian Calender. In the Tamil Calendar, it is on the thirvadarai nakshatram in the margazhi maasam.