Aandal Jayanti – Aadi Pooram
Aadi Pooram, also called as ‘Aandal Jayanti’ is a prime festival of Tamilians. This festival is dedicated to Goddess Andal, an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. Aadi Pooram is celebrated during the month of ‘Aadi’ in Tamil calendar that corresponds to the months of July-August in the English calendar. Aadi Pooram is the celebration of the birth day of Andal and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour in the places all over the world that is populated by the Tamils. The day of Aadi Pooram is also observed as the day of Goddess Shakti as it is believed that the Goddess herself comes to Earth in this auspicious day, to bless Her devotees. The devotees therefore worship their deity with full dedication to lead a happy and prosperous life.
The Word ‘Aadi’ signifies the fourth month in the Tamil calendar while ‘Pooram’ denotes one of the 27 Nakshatras mentioned in the Hindu Astrology. The story of Goddess Andal is known all through the state of Tamil Nadu and her devotion to Sri Ranganatha (a form of Lord Vishnu) is widespread in the whole of southern India. The celebrations of Aadi Pooram are very splendid in almost all the Lord Vishnu temples located in Tamil Nadu. The day also holds immense significance in Goddess Shakti temples scattered all over the country. In the Saiva temples, the day of Aadi Pooram is observed as the festival of ‘Valaikappu’. In the event, glass bangles are offered to Goddess Andal and then distributed among all devotees. It is believed that by wearing these bangles, the couples will be blessed with offspring and also when pregnant women wear these bangles; it shields their child from all the evil forces.
Rituals during Aadi Pooram:
Aadi Pooram is a 10-day festival observed with great pomp and show in all Lord Vishnu temples in the state of Tamil Nadu. Of these, the last day (10th day) is observed as ‘Aadi Pooram’ and a grand marriage ceremony of Goddess Andal and Sri Ranganathaswamy is conducted. This event is also known as ‘Thirukalyanam’.
On the day of Aadi Pooram, the women of the household get up early and start making the preparations. They decorate their house beautifully with kolam. Goddess Andal is fond of lotus flower, red color and kalkandu rice. The women of the household make an elaborate meal for offering to the Goddess.
In the temples, Goddess Andal is adorned with silk saree, glittering jewelleries and garlands. An elaborate feast is offered to the Goddess that is contributed by every household in the community. As the festival of Aadi Pooram celebrated the marriage of God and Goddess, thousands of devotees visit the temples to witness this ceremony.
Special rituals are performed on this day that is accompanied by playing the traditional music. The celebrations continue till late at night and then after the ‘aarti’ the food is distributed among the devotees.
On this auspicious day, the devotees also read the ‘Thiruppavai’ and ‘Lalitha Sahasranamam’.