Monday, December 20, 2010


Image courtsey:Mr. Krishnakumar,USA
A grant event for Women. I don't know about the thiruvathira celebration in any other state. Its a great tradition of Kerala to celebrate this day of the month 'Dhanu' with the ethnic dance form of Kerala. Thiruvathira day has a glittering of kasavu, rhythm of thiruvathira songs, aroma of special dishes , sacredness of herbs, serenity of fasting and all above a connection with the vibrant Lord Shiva.
This year's thiruvathira celebration is on 22nd December. Traditionally women observe 'Orikkal' means one time rice food on Makayiram , the day before thiruvathira. This is for their children. Thiruvathira is for the husband. Girls observe this routine for getting good husbands.
In most of the stories this event has connection with Lord Shiva and Parvathi. It is considered as the day Shiva married Parvathi devi. Some says that its the day Shiva given rebirth to Kamadeva.
In some stories it has connection with Krishna and Gopikas.
Without doubt its a festival for women folks to pray for their best half and it may be the one to express their inner joy through the slow paces of the thiruvathira dance.
This event is more popular among the Namboothiri and nair casts in Kerala. Rituals vary from region to region. Some of them starts the events one week before thiruvathira day. In our region we observe the rituals from the day before thiruvathira, ie Makayiram. This ritual is for our children. Many terms associated with Thiruvathira. Ettangadi, pathirappoochoodal, thudichukuli, poothiruvathira and dashapushpam
In brief on thiruvathira day we observe fast and will not sleep that night. During the day time we can have 'Ettangadi' and 'Thiruvathira puzhukku'. Two of them are very special for thiruvathira . At the night ladies gather at a house or a temple and perform thiruvathira dance and in early morning they will take bath in nearest pond. After bathing they will adorn their hair with dasha pushpam. This process is known as 'Pathira poochoodal'. Legends say that Sree parvathi used the flowers of Neelakoduveli and leaves of Konna and Erukku.
The first thiruvathira after marriage is known 'Poothiruvathira'. Its a grand celebration with friends and relatives.
Thiruvathira is a celebration of togetherness with souls and with Lord. In this IT era its a sweet remembrance of our past.
Thiruvathira kali- A dance form which originated from Kerala. Once it was associated with this Thiruvathira day rituals. Now it attained a position in our youth festivals. Its a group dance and must contain even numbers. At one time every nair/namboothiri family have a tradition to teach their girls thiruvathira at home. Its a slow pace dance with songs from our epics. Attire will be our traditional dress, Settu and mundu and the hair must be adorned with 'Dasha pushpam'.

Dasha pushpam-10 sacred herbs easily available in Kerala
Ettangadi- Eight tubers which are kachil, chena, chembu, koorkka, Nanakizhangu, Kappa , maran chembu and Kattu kizhangu.
Thiruvathira puzhukku- In this also we use tubers and red cow beans.

Thiruvathira is festival for our partner. Whenever the sheer of this festival ushers in my mind I always think of these haunting line from NN Kakkad from his poem 'Saphalamee yathra'

'Aardramee dhanumasa ravukalilonnil Aathira varum pokumalle sakhi
Njanee janalazhi pidichottu nilkkatte neeyennarikathu thanne nilkkoo'
'Aathira varum neram orumichu kaikal korthethirelkkanam namukkikkuri
varum kollam arennumenthennum arkkariyam'
These are the lines written during his sick days. For the lyrics of this poem.
He is insisting his wife to welcome thiruvathira with a thalam with full of memories and without falling a drop of tears through the small window.


chitra said...

Happy Thiruvathira, remember going to Tiruvathira utsavaam in Kannankulangara Mahadeva kshertam in Tripunithura. There the vedikettu is famous.

AswathiBabu said...

I had not yet gone kannnankulangara , will surely go there . I thought it's main diety is kannan

Jennifer Kumar, Cross-Cultural Coach said...

This is very interesting. I wanted to know more about this festival. It's mentioned 'poothiruvathria' is the first thiruvathira after marriage. What's 'poo' mean? I know it means flower in Tamil... but ...I have heard the phrase 'thalideepawali' in Tamil- first Diwali after marriage (thali, I know meaning :) I also noticed the photos you chose. If it is possible, for the thiruvathira dance photo, can you please note, photographer as Krishna Kumar (my husband :). This was a dance we did in Rochester NY (USA) a few years back. Here's the original page of that photo for reference.

Thanks and happy new year!

AswathiBabu said...

Hai jennifer
I will add yr husband's name surely. Thanks for yr comments


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