Tourism > India > Tamil Nadu >Festivals
Pongal Festival in Tamilnadu, India is bestowed with the bliss of festivity. A major segment of the population here depends on agriculture. As a result, most of the festivals are also related to the agricultural activities of the people. These festivals are celebrated with different names and rituals in almost all the parts of India. Pongal is one of such highly revered festivals celebrated in Tamil Nadu to mark the harvesting of crops by farmers. Held in the middle of January, it is the time when the people get ready to thank God, Earth and their Cattle for the wonderful harvest and celebrate the occasion with joyous festivities and rituals.
The four day Harvest festival is celebrated all over the state in January. The festival begins on the last day of the Tamil month with Bhogi Pongal followed by Surya
Pongal on the next day. It is on this day that Chakkara Pongal, a delicacy of harvest rice cooked with jaggery, ghee and cashew nuts is offered to the Sun God. The third day, Mattu Pongal is dedicated to the Cattle when cows are bathed and adomed with colorful beads and flowers. Jallikattu, the bullfight is held on the last day known as Kannum Pongal.
Natyanjali Dance Festival
Starts from the day of Mahashivaratri, for 5 days. Chidambaram is situated along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, 75 km south of Pondicherry. Lord Nataraja, according to the Hindu mythology is a cosmic dancer. He is called the Lord of dances. This is an opportunity for all dancers, from all India, to perform and to pay their tribute to Lord Nataraja.The Natyanjali festival, which brings all the prominent dancers of India, together on the same platform, opens on the auspicious occasion of Mahasivaratri, in the month of February. It is performed at the 'Prakara' of the temple, and the dancers, full of intense bliss and devotion, with their evocative abhinaya, offer their dance to the great divinity, Lord Nataraja.
Festivals have great value in Chidambaram. The Natyanjali festival dedicated to the Cosmic Dancer (Lord Shiva) is celebrated every year during February-March. Lord Nataraja, according to Hindu mythology is the cosmic dancer. He is also called "the Lord of Dances".
Natyanjali festival is jointly organised by The Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu, The Ministry Of Tourism, Government of India and The Natyanjali Trust, Chidambaram. It is designed to promote a universal message of 'Unity in Diversity' conveyed in the universal language of music and dance.
Karthigai Deepam Festival
The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated in the Tamil Month of Karthigai (November - December). It begins on Uttradam day with flag hoisting and goes on the nine days. In the early hours of the tenth day Bharani Deepam in five agantams will be lit in Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswarar's Sannithi. In the evening, the Pancha Murthis will be brought to the Katchi Mandapam. At dusk (Pradosha) the Karthigai day synchronizing with the full moon day, the deity, Ardhanareeswarar is taken out to this place with the five deepams, which are put in a big receptacle near the flug-stuff. At the same time the beacon light on the hill is lit. The huge concourse of devotees from all parts of our country in a million voice raise a cry simultaneously "Harohara to Annamalai" which will rend the air. It is a sight for the Gods to see!
ROWS OF agal vilakkus in front of every house... this is the image that at once comes to mind when we think of Karthigai Deepam - the festival of lights that is celebrated throughout Tamil Nadu during the month of Karthigai (November-December). Not many of us are aware that it is one of the oldest festivals celebrated in the State, perhaps even before people began celebrating Deepavali and Navarathri. Also, unlike many other Hindu festivals, Karthigai is basically a Tamil festival and is virtually unknown in most other parts of the country.
One of the earliest references to the festival is found in the Ahananuru, a book of poems, which dates back to the Sangam Age (200 B.C. to 300 A.D.). The Ahananuru clearly states that Karthigai is celebrated on the full moon day (pournami) of the Tamil month of Karthigai. It was one of the most important festivals (peruvizha) of the ancient Tamils. Avaiyyar, the renowned poetess of those times, refers to the festival in her songs.
Karthigai is essentially a festival of lamps. The lighted lamp is considered an auspicious symbol. It is believed to ward off evil forces and usher in prosperity and joy. While the lighted lamp is important for all Hindu rituals and festivals, it is indispensable for Karthigai.
Jallikatu Bull Fight
On the 4th day, Kanya Pongal, coloured balls of the pongal are made and are offered to birds. A kind of bull-fight, called the 'Jallikattu' is held in Madhurai, Tiruchirapalli and Tanjore in Tamil Nadu and several places in Andhra Pradesh. Bundles containing money are tied to the horns of ferocious bulls, and unarmed villagers try to wrest the bundles from them. Bullock cart races and cock-fights are also held. In Andhra Pradesh, every household displays its collection of dolls for three days. Community meals are held at night with freshly harvested ingredients.
Ballads, folk dances, dramas and songs have rich cultural heritages, 'Jallikattu' or bull fight' played in Madurai, Trichy areas are more ferocious than the bull fight which is the beloved sport of Latin speakers in Europe and south America.
Myths and legends, festivals and ceremonials have helped to fashion an exquisitely charming type of handicrafts. The products of tamilnadu workmen cater to as much beauty as to utility, which include metal-ware, wood carving, pottery, leather goods, carpets, pith work, palam left products, etc. handloom textiles both cotton and silk have won global appreciation.
Cattle are decorated with garlands, their horns coloured, and mango leyes hung round their necks. Then they are led about in procession exempted from all labour, and virtually, if not actually, worshipped. On this occasion the Jallikattu (bull fight) is held in Al1angunal1ur, near Chennai. Cattle are decorated with garlands, their horns are coloured and mango leave~re hung round their necks. They are led in a procession.
Music and Dance festival, Chennai. (December)
The classical tradition is an ancient and sophisticated art form stretching back over thousands of years. Originating in the temples and performed by the devadasis, the classical styles have been associated with mythology, philosophy, and spiritual beliefs of the Hindu culture and, in more recent times, the Islamic tradition.Classical dance has its roots in the Natya Shastra, the earliest known written text on dramaturgy. Attributed to the Sage Bharata in the second century, this Sanskrit treatise defines drama, comprising speech, mime, dance, and music, and lays down the principles governing technique and aesthetics.
Chennai music and dance festival is a celebration of classical music and dance of South India (Carnatic Music) held during mid December to mid January in the capital city of Chennai. The festival is held at a number of venues around the city by various sabhas or organizations.
The 'Margazhi festival of dance and music' started early back in 1927, to commemorate the anniversary of Madras Music Academy every December was later adopted by various organizations which held art festivals in different parts of the city.
The city comes alive with the festival which has now developed into a cultural extravaganza with more than 2000 participants. Performances include Vocal and Instrumental music, Dance - solo and group, both by junior and senior artistes. Even upcoming artists get a chance to perform along with well-established artists. The music includes songs in various South Indian languages like Tamil, Telugu and Kannada and instruments like Flute, 'Veena' (a large string instrument) 'Goottuvadyam' (similar to Veena but without frets), 'Nagaswaram' (pipe), 'Thavil' (percussion instrument), 'Mridangam' (drum), and even 'Ghatam' (a mud pot). Information about the tickets and the venues can be had from the tourist office, Chennai.
Vinayaka Chathurthi is a festival that is celebrated in many parts of the country. However the rituals and method of celebrations are totally different in all parts. The festival dedicated to Lord Ganapathi is celebrated in the month of September â€“ October.
The festival of Nine nights is an important part of people of Tamil Nadu as well. During these nine days Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi, and Goddess Saraswathi are worshipped for health, wealth and knowledge.
The Festival of Deepavali symbolises the triumph of good over evil. During the festival people light up their houses with lamps and lights.
The festival is celebrated in the honour of Saraswathi - the Goddess of arts and letters. Educational institutions and academies of art naturally take a lively interest in these celebrations. The goddess is invoked in every home and hearth during the celebrations.
Chitri Rai Festival
The festival is held in the famous Madurai Temples and lasts for 10 days during the Tamil month of chithirai Major attractions is the procession of lord kallazhagar otherwise known as lord Vishnu from Azhagarkoil to give away his sister goddess Meenakshi, in Marriage to Lord Sundareswarar.
A holy festival that will bring you to Kumbakonam once in 12 years - the temple city that gets its name from "Kumbha" - the divine pot. Legend has it that Brahma, the Creator, held a pot containing nectar and the seed of creation. Shiva. in the form of a hunter shot an arrow at the pot - spilling the nectar into the famous Mahamagam tank at the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple.