Aadi Perukku | Aadi 18 | Pathinettam
The Aadi Perukku festival is a unique South Indian Tamil Festival celebrated on the 18th day of the month of Aadi (the 2nd or 3rd of August). It marks a time when the sun’s harshness is reduced and winds are favourable. Aadi Perukku also marks the beginning of monsoon in Tamil Nadu. During this month, water levels in the rivers increases due to monsoon rains.
The festival shows gratitude to nature and thanks Mother Cauvery River and the Goddess Parvathi. It celebrates water which brings fresh hope to farmers, happiness to families, and joy to newly-weds. It is celebrated near water sources – rivers, water tanks, lakes and wells, even the sea shore. This festival is celebrated by farmers and others who depend on the rivers and monsoon rains for their livelihood. Prayers and pujas are conducted in temples to Mother Cauvery and Varuna, the god of Rain, for a good harvest, constant supply of water and a hassle free monsoon.
Women play a major role in this festival. Goddess Parvathi is worshipped with the offering of different rice dishes and the rivers are offered flowers and rice offerings. People take a holy dip in the water and they perform the poojas at the bathing ghats along the river. A special lamp using rice flour and jaggery is fashioned, which is placed on mango leaves, filled with ghee and lit. Flowers, turmeric and a yellow thread are also placed on the mango leaves. Women float the lamps along with the mango leaves and other accompaniments in the river. After the puja, they will have a picnic of rice varieties and other dishes along with family and friends. The riverbank or seashore picnic is a major event in some districts in Tamil Nadu on this day.
On the morning of this day, the women then carry raw rice, jaggery, sugar, coconuts, bananas, lamps, flowers, turmeric, camphor and other materials to the banks of the river or other water source. They take a dip before commencing the puja. They heap sand in a pile as a representation of Mother Earth. In banana leaves, little craters are made with rice powder soaked in water and mixed with sugar and freshly grated coconut. These are lamps and they are filled with ghee and lit for the Goddess, with bababas as prasadam. Cotton threads soaked in turmeric and sandal paste are placed to invoke Cauvery. Flowers are showered into the waters along with specially created black bangles and earings fashioned from red tinted olai – palmyra leaves. Sweetened rice, cooked in the open, is then distributed, and a picnic is taken with other foods cooked at home or cooked there in the open.
In some regions in Tamil Nadu, newly married couples are invited to one’s home and the sons-in-law are given gifts. Usually during Aadi month, the newly wed brides spend the month at her parent’s home and on Aadi Perukku.
How to Celebrate
Naividyam and Prasadam
- Aadi Perukku Naividyam and Prasadam Dishes
- Maa Vilakku (Lamps offered to Goddess)