We kick off our blog with the much awaited festival of the year, that is, the Chittirai Kavadi Thiruvizha. This festival, though celebrated in several parts of the island, is strongly associated with our temple, Malai Kovil or commonly, Kovil Montagne. The festival was even known as ‘Kavdi Montagne’ in earlier years.
The Chittirai Thiruvizha was first celebrated several decades ago by the elders of the society (Hindoo Tamulall Siva Soopramanien Benevolent Society) in a great élan of Bhakti and fervour. Since then, thousands of devotees converge annually to the Kovil to participate in the festivities. It has thus, become the major annual festival of the kovil where elaborate rituals are conducted for ten days and Kavadi, as tradition goes, is performed on the tenth day.
Chittirai is the first month of the Tamil Year, which starts on the 14th of April; and the month goes on till around the 15th of May. The full moon day, known as Pournami, in the month of Chittirai is considered very sacred and auspicious and very propitious for spiritual practices. Hence, performing Kavadi on this particular day, gives immense impetus to not only spiritual progress but also general well being. It has been the tradition at the temple to perform Kavadi on Chittirai Pournami since the first time.
Chittirai, the month, should not be confused with ‘Chitirai or Chitra Nakshatra’, which is a star/ constellation. The Chitirai star is also considered sacred and there are some festivals held on the day the star shines during the Chittirai month. As said earlier, at the Kovil, the tradition has always been to celebrate Kavadi on Chittirai Pournami and not on Chitra Nakshatra day. (Note: more often than not, the Chitra star coincides with Pournami)
All this Chittirai Pournami and Chittirai Nakshatra might sound confusing, but take some time to understand and it will settle in. 🙂
This year, Chittirai Full Moon day is on the 10th of May. The grand festival will start on the 01st May morning with Kodi Etram (flag hoisting) and daily prayers will go on for ten days (morning and evening) along with cultural events. Since 2011, the Arunagirinathar Utsavam is celebrated on the Sunday during the festival and this year, it will be on the 07th May.
Stay tuned to our blog for more.