Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Aadiperukku – A tribute to nature’s gift to mankind, water!

Aadi perukku or Pathinettaam perukku is celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month of Aadi.

 Nature worship was predominant in ancient Tamil culture. Though, till date this is a very famous festival observed in Tamil Nadu traditional practises have given way to their modern counter-parts.

‘Aadi Thallupadi’ is a term which is more popularly associated with the month as it refers to the heavy discount sale!

Originally Aadiperukku was celebrated as a tribute to the water God. The life sustaining properties of water were brought to the fore in every ritual associated with this festival. The importance of water in creation and protection of life can never be over-emphasised. The great poet Thiruvalluvar, in his literary work, Thirukkural had dedicated one chapter to praise the qualities of water.

Aadi perukku is celebrated near river basins. People usually throw fruits and saffron clothes into the river as they are known to carry life to various parts. The rivers are personified as female deities and during Adiperukku, a form of water deity known as Pachhai Amman or Kanni Amman is worshipped.

There was an ancient practice of germinating nine types of grains (Navadhanyam) in an earthen pot. The women carried it on their heads and walked in a procession towards the river and dissolved the contents of their pots into the river. This ritual is known as 'Mullaipari'.

Even today in weddings and other religious ceremonies the practice of germinating grains and dissolving them in water is followed. The process of germination of grains symbolises fertility and prosperity.

Tuesdays and Fridays of this month are special and pujas are done to the female deity to bestow her grace on the land. The deity’s blessings are sought to make the land and the women fertile, in order to preserve life on earth!

Other rituals associated with this festival include taking ‘Kalandasadham’ or flavoured rice (like Tamarind rice, lemon rice, coconut rice) to the river bank and eating with the family in the open air. People throng to the Amman temples and offer pujas and prayers. Some people wear new clothes, symbolising prosperity.

In fact this month is dedicated to farming activities (since the monsoon is at its peak during this period) and is considered inauspicious for any other type of work. Newly wed brides are sent back to their mother’s house ending so that their grooms can focus on agriculture!