Kerala celebrated Thiruvathira

published on January 13, 2006

Hindu women all over the state  observed Thiruvathira on Friday. The festival, which falls on the  Thiruvathira star in the Malayalam month of Dhanu, is considered a highly auspicious occasion to worship Siva. The devotees go to the temple before sunrise for darshan.This festival is a day of fasting and the women give up the ordinary rice meal on that day

The people celebrate this festival with age-old tradition and they do it with great joy and respect for the past. The Ardra Darshan celebrated in Tamil Nadu corresponds to Thiruvathira of Kerala. It is considered to be high auspicious to worship Siva and the devotees go to the temple before sunrise for ‘darshan’. Apart from the worship in the Siva temple, there is very little celebration in the houses.

From prehistoric times, Malayalee women enjoyed an enviable position in society, and she was practically the mistress of her house. The elevated position she occupied had distinguished her from her neighbours and influenced to a considerable extent the social structure, customs and religious practices of the people. The culmination of this phenomenon is clearly visible in setting apart one of the three great festivals of Kerala viz. Thiruvathira, exclusively for womenfolk, for which a parallel can hardly be found in any section of the Indian Society.

Oonjalattom, swinging on an oonjal (swing) is an item of amusement on this occasion. At night the women keep vigil for Siva and perform Thiruvathira kali or Kaikottikali. They stand in a circle around a lighted brass lamp, and dance each step at the rhythm of the songs they sing, clapping their hands. The songs sometimes consist of Kathakali songs including the works of Irayimman Thampi.

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