Temple festivals of Tamil Nadu is held in September to October and in the post-harvest months of March to June which last three to four days. These festivals are not only spiritual events but cultural landmarks as well. Tamil Nadu is laced with several eminent temples all across the state and the religious festivals are followed with all sanctity and devotion. There are a plenty of holy images and idols of the Gods and Goddesses in the temples, enticing hundreds of visitors throughout the year.
Some of the popular Tamil Nadu Temple Festivals are as follows:
Vaikasi Visakam: Vaikasi Visakam is one of the popular Tamil Nadu Temple Festivals which is held between May to June. Enormous groups of devotees numbering about two lakhs take part in the festival. The procession of Sri Jayanthinathar with Valli and Deivanai is conducted during the night of this festival.
Kumbakonam Sri Ramar Garuda Sevai Festival: The Garuda Sevai Festival is held at Kumbakonam on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya. All the 14 perumal are taken in procession on garuda vahanam. Thousands of devotees attended this festival and get the blessings of perumal.
Avani Thirunaal: The festival is held for 12 days and 7th, 8th and 10th day functions are significant. The Avani celebration of twelve days in August-September comes second in importance, when just two of the temple cars are drawn and besides concludes with the Theppam. The temple cars are drawn on the tenth day of each festival, and the Theppam float on the 11th day final festivals. They are gigantic attractions to all the country folk around, who come in large numbers and contribute in dragging, and bringing them to their stands.
Masi Festival: More than three lakh people take part in Masi celebration at Tiruchendur. It is notable for the reason that in most of the days, popular discourses on religion are arranged to be given by scholars of merit and also musical performances, in persistence of the cultural progression of the congregation, propagation of spiritual knowledge, and the revival of arts.
Vasanta Festival: The Vasanta festival is a yearly celebration of ten days in the month of April-May. Senthil-Nayagar, the processional deity of Subrahmanya with his companions Valli and Teyvayanai are taken from their hut in the temple to the Vasanta Mantapa on the giri-prakara which is properly decorated with embellish for the event and made particularly cool with waters filled in the furrow which runs around the base on which the deities are placed.
Skanda Sashti: Skanda Sashti, the sixth day in the bright half of the month of Aippasi, is celebrated in Saivite temples all over Tamil Nadu, and with an extra measure of greatness in temples dedicated to Subrahmanya. Equivalent to the six days of the conflict over the evil forces, devotees take on fasts, prayers and devotional singing to Lord Murugan. Most of the devotees live in the temples during these six days.
Natyanjali Dance Festival: This festival is celebrated in the Nataraja temple, Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. ‘Natya’ means dance and ‘Anjali’ means submission. This is the day where dancers offer their Dance as tribute to the one and only Lord Nataraja. It is a day when roughly 300-400 dancers from all over India bring out their individuality on one floor like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam, Kathak etc. It is celebrated either in the month of February or March. It is five day long festival usually beginning on the day of Maha Shivratri.
Thai Pusam Festival: On the Thaipusam day, large number of devotees marches towards Murugan temples in procession carrying ‘chhatris’ (Kavadi). They proceed with dancing, beating drums and chanting, the sound of which electrifies the procession. Some devotees pierce their tongue and cheek with ‘vel’ (small lances). Some insert hooks in their body. To show their dedication and devotion towards Lord Muruga devotees go to extremes.
Chithirai Festival: Chithirai Festival is celebrated in the Madurai temple located about 500 kms from Chennai. Chithirai Festival, Madurai includes a procession of Lord Vishnu, locally known as Lord Kallazhagar. The brother of Goddess Meenakshi, Lord Vishnu travels from his home in Azhagarmalai to get his sister married to Lord Sundareshwarar.
Meenakshi Kalyanam: Meenakshi Kalyanam, Madurai is also one of the broadly celebrated fairs and festivals in Tamil Nadu, India. The yearly celebration is celebrated every year at the world-famous Meenakshi Temple in Madurai in ceremony of the godly wedding of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareshwar. Meenakshi Kalyanam Festival in Madurai is an annual festival that falls in the months of April - May (Hindu month of Chaitra). The festival commences from the second day of the lunar month that is exactly two days after the new moon.
Aurbathimoovar Festival: The Aurbathimoovar Festival is celebrated between March and April. The famed Aurbathimoovar Festival is the celebrated in respect of the 63 Nayanmars in the Kapaleeshwarar Temple. During the Aurbathimoovar Festival the 63 saints of Lord Shiva are honoured for leading ideal lives of self-punishment and dedication. The Aurbathimoovar Festival includes a colourful procession through the streets of Mylapore. The 63 idols are carried around the town and thousands of devotees travel to Chennai to witness and be a part of the procession.
Apart from the above mentioned temple festivals of Tamil Nadu, the state also celebrates the other common festivals like Diwali, Pongal, Dussehra, Bhai Dooj, Vishwakarma Pooja, Krishna Janamashtami, Ram Navami etc.
(Last Updated on : 25-04-2017)