7 Magnificent Local Festivals Of Tamil Nadu (2023)
The state of Tamil Nadu is renowned for the many festivals that are celebrated around the year with great pride and pomp. Tamil Nadu is a very popular tourist destination known for the numerous ancient archaeological sites, local Chettinad cuisine, the unblemished beaches, and many sacred temples. Visiting Tamil Nadu during the famous festivals will prove to be well beyond anybody’s imagination as these magnificent local festivals are celebrated with great zeal with colorful rangolis, bright silk sarees, fragrant flowers, temple celebrations, and of course, delicious festival food.
7 Magnificent Local Festivals Of Tamil Nadu
Here are seven of the most glorious festival of Tamil Nadu.
One of the biggest festivals of Tamil Nadu is Pongal, typically celebrated between the 15th to 18th of January. The festival is celebrated for four successive days, and it is known as the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu. All the four days have different essential attached to them that are celebrated with great gusto and rituals.
The four-day festival begins with the first-day celebration known as Bhogi. On this day, prayers are offered to Lord Indra, people buy new things, and the old and useless things are burnt in a bonfire. The second day, known as Thai Pongal, is marked by wearing new clothes and couples make offerings of coconut and sugarcane into a river. The third day is celebrated by decorating cows and worshipping them. The last day of Pongal is known as Kaanum Pongal, where families go to visit their relatives and exchange gifts.
The last day of the festival is also marked by making a sweet dish known as Pongal, which is made from the first rice after harvest. The rice is boiled and first offered to the Sun God and then to everybody in the family.
Thaipusam is another very important and auspicious festival of Tamil Nadu that is celebrated on a full moon day in the Thai month of the Tamil calendar in Tamil Nadu. It is believed that the younger son of Lord Shiva, Lord Subramaniam, was born on this day. It is believed that on this day, people will take whatever vow they want and promise to keep them. It is a common belief that if they take vows in front of Lord Subramaniam, he makes sure that they will stay faithful to their vows forever.
This important festival is observed on this day with the sighting of the Kavadi Bearer. The Kavadi Bearer will carry a Kavadi on their shoulder, which is a wooden stick that holds two pots attached on both ends of the stick. They will also wear dresses of a Pandaren, who are people live only on alms. These devotees of Lord Shiva and Lord Subramaniam prefer to hold these pots empty at the beginning of their journey, and they will go around asking and begging for alms to fill up these pots.
This day is considered to be the day for repentance and penance, and all devotees feel more connected and closer to their God on this day. Devotees can be seen walking barefoot all over the street towards the many Lord Shiva and Lord Subramaniam temples in the state.
Another controversial ritual that is performed on Thaipusam is known as Agni Kavadi. Devotees can be seen walking barefoot with their alms pots on their shoulders, and they are then supposed to walk barefoot on the burning coal that has been spread out on the ground.
The festival was celebrated on 8th of February in 2020.
3. Thiruvaiyaru Festival
The Thiruvaiyaru is a famous music festival celebrated in Thanjavur in the state of Tamil Nadu. The festival is dedicated to the renowned music composer Thyagaraja. On the day of Pushya Bahula Panchami, Saint Thyagaraja is known to have attained samadhi, and thus the festival is celebrated on the same day every year. Every year in January, many composers from all over Tamil Nadu come to Thanjavur to attend the festivities of this festival.
Thiruvaiyaru is one of the most popular festivals of Tamil Nadu, and it helps promote classical and Carnatic music throughout the country. The festival is also celebrated with great gusto in the United States, Nigeria, and Mauritius.
The festival was celebrated on 15th January in 2020.
This festival is celebrated once every 12 years in the small town of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. This festival is organized in a huge way with a grandeur similar to Greek and Indian festivals. Toi celebrates the festival, the townspeople gather at a tank known as Mahamaham Tank to take a bath. Bathing at this Tank is considered to be as sacred as taking a bath in the Kumbh Mela, which is organized in the northeast town of Prayag Raj in Uttar Pradesh.
The astrological significance behind this festival is that the planet Jupiter enters the zodiac sign of Leo in the constellation once in every 12 years according to the Hindu calendar. At this time, the purification of all sins is believed to take place by taking a bath in this Tank. There is a huge crowd that gathers at this place on this day from all over Tamil Nadu and even nearby states. People from other countries also come to Tamil Nadu at this time to take a bath at the auspicious Mahamaham Tank.
5. Natyanjali Dance Festival
This festival of dances is dedicated to the Nataraja form of Lord Shiva. The festival pays tribute to Lord Nataraja, who is known as the dancing form of Lord Shiva. You can observe this festival at the Nataraja Temple located at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu.
The festival is celebrated by over 500 dancers who come to this temple to give their offerings by performing various classical dance forms such as Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, and other traditional dances. The festival is celebrated in February and March. The festival of Maha Shivratri marks the beginning of this four-day year-long dance festival.
In 2020, the festival took place between 19 to 23 February.
6. Karthigai Deepam
Karthigai Deepam is known as the festival of lights, which is celebrated in the Tamil month of Karthigai in November and December. The day of the festival is determined by observing the moon in to come into alignment with the constellation of Karthigai.
The festival is celebrated by wearing new clothes, exchanging gifts with your relatives and loved ones, and by singing and shouting slogans and mantras. You can hear people chanting ‘Annamalaiyar Arohara.’ The main attraction of this festival is the huge fairs that are organized at various places in Tamil Nadu, and people come from nearby states as well to visit these fairs.
7. Tamil New Year
The Tamil New Year is celebrated in April and marks the beginning of the first month of the Tamil calendar known as Puthandu. On this day, women make designs and patterns or rangoli with flowers, colors, and rice flour. Women make the beautiful rangolis or kolams as they are known in Tamil Nadu in front of their houses. They also decorate the entrances of their house.
People visit temples, especially the temple Kanni as it is considered one of the most auspicious temples to visit if you want to start anything new in life.
Foods are also an essential part of this festival, and a sweet and sour dish is prepared with mangoes, jaggery, and neem to make this dish known as Maanga Pachadi.
The Tamil New Year was celebrated on 14th April in 2020.
All the festivals in Tamil Nadu are a celebration of life and focus on keeping the many ancient traditions alive. From the famous harvest festival of Pongal to the extravagant celebration of Tamil New Year, there are festivals celebrated here throughout the year, and if you genuinely want to see the real colors of Tamil Nadu, then planning a trip to coincide with one of the festivals is a great idea.