The most beautiful month in the Tamizh calendar! Lord Krishna says that he is the month of Margazhi from which one can imagine the beauty and sanctity of this month.
It is considered very auspicious to visit the temples everyday in the early morning during this month. This custom has been followed by our people over the ages and now it has been proven scientifically that the ozone layer is closest to the Earth during this time and hence breathing in the fresh early morning air during this month is very beneficial to our health.
Temples are opened earlier in the morning in Margazhi and special pujas are conducted to the deities.
Margazhi is synonymous with Tiruppavai and Tiruvempavai to one and all.
Andal recited the 30 verses of Tiruppavai on the 30 days of Margazhi, followed the Paavai nombu and attained Lord Mahavishnu.
Manikavasagar recited Thiruvempavai on Lord Shiva. In these verses, the saint visualises himself as a female and sings in praise of the Lord in the early hours of Margazhi
Margazhi is known for lovely kolams. People decorate the entrance of their homes with decorative kolams and rangolis.
Margazhi Bhajanai & Unjavrithi
Margazhi is known for its bhajanai early morning and people also do unjavrithi. People go in groups singing in praise of God.
Again all these are being followed to ensure that people get benefited by the pure oxygen early in the morning!
Vaikunta Ekadasi (வைகுண்ட ஏகாதசி)
All Ekadasis are considered to be days to follow the vratham of avoiding rice. Rice is the staple food of South India and it is better to avoid it at least once in a fortnight to cleanse the digestive system. The eleventh day after the new moon and the full moon is called Ekadasi and we are supposed to follow the vratham of avoiding rice and eating light on these days. Even if the vratham is not followed on all ekadasis, it is important to follow it on Vaikunta Ekadasi. It is believed that people who follow the vratham of avoiding rice and salt and be awake the whole night reciting Lord Mahavishnu’s name on this day will reach Vaikundam after leaving this world. Vaikunta Ekadasi is the eleventh day of the waxing moon. This year it falls on 17th December. Ever year all temples of Mahavishnu have the beautiful ritual of “sorgavaasal” (சொர்க்க வாசல்) on the early morning of Vaikunta Ekadasi and the whole day is celebrated on a grand scale in these temples
Thiruvadhirai (திருவாதிரை) aka Arudhra darisanam (ஆருத்ரா தரிசனம்)
Thiruvadhirai is the star of Lord Shiva and this festival is celebrated in His honour. Arudhra darisanam is celebrated on the full moon day of Margazhi and this year it falls on 22nd December. This festival is celebrated in all Sivan temples with special abhishekams to the Siva lingams on the eve of Thiruvadhirai and special alangarams and pujas on Thiruvadhirai day. The celebrations at Chidambaram are the best with special pujas to Natarajar.
This time of the year is very close to harvest and all kinds of native vegetables are available aplenty. Hence the offerings to Lord Shiva are kali (களி) - a sweet made with rice and jaggery - and kootu (கூட்டு) - a side dish made of all native vegetables and coconut.
Thiruvadhirai ther (தேர்) (chariot) is said to be very famous and in fact many people including those in our household have the habit of decorating their front porches with kolams in the design of chariots.
Hanumath Jayanthi (ஹனுமத் ஜெயந்தி)
Hanumath Jayanthi – the birthday of Lord Hanuman is celebrated on different months in different part of India, but in Tamil Nadu, it is the new moon day of Margazhi which usually coincides with Hanuman’s birth star Moolam. This year it falls on 4th January 2011.
Bhogi pandigai (போகி பண்டிகை)
The last day of Margazhi, before the “wedding season” month of Thai is born, come Bhogi Pandigai. This pandigai is on the day before the grand tamizh festival of Pongal. This year it falls on 14th January 2011. Just before Bhogi, the houses are cleaned, painted and all old and unwanted things are burnt on bhogi day marking the entry of new and exit of old stuff. Of course, nowadays burning is discouraged as it creates pollution.
Last, but not the least, is the Margazhi music season in Chennai. The music season is not just music, but dance and drama too with many lecture demonstration sessions useful for learners. Again the music season does not wait for Margazhi anymore as the city is growing and with sabhas all over the place, the duration of the season has increased. This year music season began on the 1st of December and is in full swing now. It is a pleasure to watch the sabhas full of different types of people right from the lovely pattu sari clad ladies to the girls in jeans - many of them foreigners - enjoying the kutcheris alike. For the past 10-15 years the food served in the sabha canteens has gained almost as much importance as the kutcheris themselves with caterers vying for a slot.
All in all, Margazhi is a lively month right from temples early morning to the kutcheris late evening!