Aadi perukku – Festival of worshiping the Rivers
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Aadi Perukku (02-Aug-2017)
Aadi Perukku is a Hindu festival that is widely celebrated among the Tamil speaking population in India. This auspicious day is observed on the 18th day of the Aadi month according to the Tamil calendar and thus is also known by the name ‘Aadi pathinettu’. It must be noted that the word ‘pathinettu’ in Tamil language denotes eighteen while ‘Peruku’ means ‘rising’. Aadi Perukku is mainly celebrated to honour the rivers and other water bodies of the state, which serves as the lifeline for the people there. On this revered occasion, people display their gratitude towards Mother Nature for providing abundant water resources, such as rivers and lakes without which life on this planet would not be possible. They also offer worship to the Amman deity ( a form of goddess Parvathi) seeking her blessing for begetting happy and prosperous life.
Aadi month marks the beginning of monsoon season in the southern states of India. Most part of Tamil Nadu witnesses considerable rainfall during this month which refills the rivers, thereby increasing it volume. Since water is available in abundant during Aadi month, it is considered to be the ideal time for farming related activities such as sowing seeds and growing crops. Farmers across the state express their gratitude to River Cauvery and its tributaries, which are the major source of water in the state. Other secondary water bodies including the lakes and ponds are also worshiped on this special day.
Rituals during Aadi Perukku
The festival of Aadi Perukku assumes greater importance to those living near the rivers banks. People take a holy dip in the river and adorn new clothes to celebrate the day. Holy rituals are performed on the river side by the people as part of their worship towards River Kauvery and the Amman deity.
Aadi Perukku is also considered auspicious for women folks who worship Goddess Parvati on this revered occasion. They prepare an elaborate feast called ‘Kalandha Sadham’, which includes a variety of dishes made from rice, such as the coconut rice, lemon rice, sambar rice, sweet pongal, curd rice, etc. The above dishes are then offered to the deity after which they are served to the relatives and friends who participate in the festive celebrations. People also offer prayers to River Cauvery, to provide them with uninterrupted water supply all through the year. This is because of the fact that water, being an important element of nature, plays a vital role in agriculture, thereby bringing a successful harvest.
It is also customary for both married and unmarried women of the state, to worship rivers and other water bodies on Aadi Perukku, by offering a with a lamp, made from jaggery and rice flour. This lamp is placed over mango leaves along with a sacred yellow thread, turmeric and few flowers, and is then made to float on the river. Unmarried women often perform this ritual, praying for an ideal groom while married women seek longevity and wellness of their husband and children.
Traditionally, some Tamil families invite their son-in-laws to their houses on Aadi Perukku and present them with new clothes as gifts. In few other communities, there is a certain practice where the newly wed women are made to spend a month before Aadi Perukku at their parents’ home. On the day of this festival, a specific ritual is performed which involves adding a gold coin to their respective ‘thalis’ (sacred thread or Mangalsuthra) after which they return to their husband’s house. Nevertheless, the festival of Aadi Perukku displays the rich and varied cultural heritage of the Tamilians.
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