Tuesday, 10 January 2017


 Thiruvathirai or Thiruvathira or Arudhra Darisanam is celebrated in the South Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.Thiruvathirai(Arudhra) in Tamil means "sacred big wave", using which this universe was created by Lord Shiva about 132 trillion years ago.

It takes place on the full moon night in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December–January) and this is also the longest night in a year.
Sambandar sung in Tevaram during 7th-9th century, how Thiruvathirai celebrated at Kabaleeshwaram (Mylapore, Chennai).

ஊர்திரை வேலை யுலாவும் உயர்மலைக்
கூர்தரு வேல்வல்லார் கோற்றங் கோள் சேரிதனில்
கார்தரு சோலைக் கபாலீச்சரம் அமர்ந்தான்
ஆதிரைநாள் காணாதே போதியார் பூம்பாவாய்"
Appar wrote a separate pathigam (10 songs) in Tevaram, in the name Thiruvathirai Pathigam which describes the importance and celebrations of Thiruvathirai.
In 4th Tirumurai he sang about the celebration in Tiruvarur
"முத்து விதான மணிப்பொற் கவரி முறையாலே
பக்தர்க ளோடு பாவையர் சூழப் பலிப்பின்னே
வித்தகக் கோல வெண்டலை மாலை விரதிகள்
அத்தனாரூ ராதிரை நாளா லதுவண்ணம்"
The cosmic dance of Lord Shiva represents five activities – Creation, Protection, Destruction, Embodiment and Release. In essence, it represents the continuous cycle of creation and destruction. This cosmic dance takes place in every particle and is the source of all energy. Arudra Darshan celebrates this ecstatic dance of Lord Shiva.
It is essentially a Shaivite festival and celebrates the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, which is represented by the Nataraja form. Arudhra (Thiruvathirai in Tamil) signifies the golden red flame and Shiva performs the dance in the form this red-flamed light. Lord Shiva is supposed to be incarnated in the form of Lord Nataraja during the Arudra Darshan day.


In Tamil Nadu, the unmarried women will fast during the day time. They will take food before sunrise and start their fasting. They will break the fast after witnessing the moon rise. Nonbu (fasting) starts nine days before and ends on Thiruvathirai day so totally they fast for ten days.
There is special food called Thiruvadhirai kali made of Rice, Jaggery, Moong dhall, Coconut, Cardamom and Ghee with Thiruvathirai ezhlu curry koottu, which is made out of seven vegetables, that is cooked and served on this day. They choose from Pooshanikai (pumpkin), Paranghikai (ash gourd), Vazhakkai (plantain), Pacha mochai (field beans), Sarkaraivalli kizhangu (sweet potato), Cheppan kizhangu (colocasia), Urulai kizhangu (potato), Katharikai (eggplant) etc.


In Kerala, the festival is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Shiva. Thiruvathira is the nakshatra or "star" as per the Malayalam calendar of Lord Shiva. Another belief is that the festival commemorates the death of Kamadeva, the Hindu god of erotic desire. It is believed that on this day, the Goddess Parvathi finally met Lord Shiva after her long penance and Lord Shiva took her as a saha-dharma chaarini (equal partner). Both Parvathi and Shiva present this ideal to devotees in the form of Ardha-Nareeshawara (half male, half female form).

Women performing Thiruvathirakali

In Kerala, Thiruvathira is an important traditional festival along with the other popular festivals, Onam and Vishu. This has been celebrated by the Nambuthiri, Kshatriya and Nair communities of Kerala from days of yore. It is largely a festival for women; unmarried women observe a partial fast on this day to get good husbands and married women take a fast from the preceding day (Makayiram nakshatra) and on the day of Thiruvathira for the well being of their husband and family. The first Thiruvathira of a newly wedded woman is her poothiruvathira.
The fast essentially involves abstaining from rice-based food. The typical meal includes cooked broken wheat and Thiruvathira puzhukku, a delightful mix of tuber vegetables: colocasia (chembu), yam (chena), Chinese potato (koorka), sweet potato (madhurakizhangu) with long beans (vanpayar) and raw plantain fruit (ethakaya), cooked with a thick paste of freshly ground coconut. The dessert is koova payasam, a sweet dish made of arrow root powder, jaggery and coconut milk.
Thiruvathirakali is a dance form performed by women on the day of Thiruvathira to the accompaniment of Thiruvathira paattu, folk songs telling tales of lovesick Parvati, her longing and penance for Lord Shiva's affection and Shiva's might and power. The sinuous movements executed by the group of dancers around a nilavilakku embody lasya or the amorous charm and grace of the feminine. The dance follows a circular, pirouetting pattern accompanied by clapping of the hands and singing. Today, Thiruvathirakali has become a popular dance form for all seasons.Thiruvathira kali is a typical dance form of Kerala. This is a female group dance made up of simple yet very attractive steps. In ancient times, women use to perform this dance in their homes during festivals and functions, giving it the Malayalam name aka Kaikottikali: aka-inside + kaikottikali-play claping hands. Lore has it that Thiruvathira Kali is in memory of Lord Siva taking Parvathi as his wife. A group of women dressed in typical Kerala style with mundu and neriyathu and the hair bun adorned with jasmine garlands perform this dance during festival seasons.. Kaikottikkali spreads the message of joy and also illustrates the emotions of a married woman towards her beloved and of the unmarried woman longing for one.

Usually we prepare Thiruvathirai kali out of rice, this time try this unique Broken yellow Corn Thiruvathirai kali for Thiruvathirai and seek blessings from Lord Shiva.

Broken yellow corn / makka cholam    - 1 cup
Jaggery                                              - 1 cup
Fried Coconut bits                              - 2 tbsps
                   - 2 tbsps
Water                                                 - 2 cups
Cardamom powder                              -1/4 tsp


Dry roast the corn till good aroma comes and Cool down completely.
Add grated  jaggery adding two cups of water and keep it on the flame it.
When jaggery is fully dissolved and bubbles start appearing switch off and strain to remove impurities.
Reheat the strained jiggery syrup in the frying pan and allow it to boil.
When it comes to boil add the broken corn to the jiggery syrup and stir continuously in a medium flame.
Add powdered cardamom and ghee and cook till it thickens and stir till it starts leaving the sides of the pan.
Garnish it with  fried coconut bits
Serve hot with a generous  serving of ghee. 


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