The Tamil month Aadi is the fourth month of the Tamil Calendar and begins on July 16th, 2012. The start of this month is the Dakshinayana punyakalam or the night time of Devas.
Aadi is a month of fervour and observances in Godess related to Water-forces and Natural forces (e.g. Maria Amman temples, Mundakanni amman temples etc.) where prayers and pujas are offered to propitiate the powerful goddesses and seek their protection from the inauspicious aspects that are often associated with the month. The month of Aadi is considered very auspicious to connect oneself to this Divine power. No weddings or other similar functions are celebrated during Aadi as is considered inauspicious.
Also, starting this month the heat of the sun reduces and the rains start. It is during this time that the monsoon peaks on the west coast and the rivers of Tamil Nadu, shrunken in the summer heat, get replenished, often to near full levels. Usually the tamil months are named based on the nakshatra that prevails during the full moon day or Pournami. In Chithirai month, full moon day happens during chithirai nakshathiram, in Vaikasi month during Visaka Nakshathiram and similarly in Aadi full moon day happens during Aashada Nakshathiram and thus this month got the name Aash Aadi(in north) / Aadi(in the south).
Aadi auspicious days are
Aadi Sundays, Aadi Tuesdays (Aadi Chevvai) and Aadi Fridays ( Aadi Velli) are auspicious.
The Aadi Velli and Aadi Chevvai are of great significance to women as numerous rituals are performed. Women of the neighborhood and friends meet on the Fridays and do pujas and exchange Thamboolam.
Varalakshmi Puja an important ritual dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi is performed on a Friday in the month of Aadi.
Some important festivals celebrated in this month are as follows:
1. Aadi Pirappu: The first day of this month, usually falling on July 16 is celebrated as Aadi Pandigai or Aadi Pirappu, which is an important festival to most Tamils, especially newly-weds. The first of the month is marked with a special puja, followed by a feast with ‘payasam’ prepared with coconut milk, ‘puran poli’ and vadai. Traditionally, the family of a ‘pudhu maappillai’ (new son-in-law) is invited to the girl’s house, where the couple is gifted new clothes and other presents.
2. Aadi Amavasai (July 18) – No moon day in Aadi month dedicated to offering Shradh and Tarpan to dead ancestors.
3. Aadi Pooram (July 23) – This month is the birth (Avathara) month of Sri Andal (one among 12 great Alwars of Sri Vaishnavism).
Legend has it that Vishnu Chitha (called as Periazhwar) was a sincere devotee of Lord Ranganatha of Srivilliputhur. He was childless for a very long time. His prayers were answered and on Aadi Pooram day, when the devotee was collecting flowers for his puja in his garden, he found a girl child. The child was named Kothai who grew up with devotion to Lord.
Everyday, Vishnu Chitha made a garland of Thulasi leaves to offer to the deity at the temple. Kothai used to wear that before offering to the Lord. One day, the devotee happened to see her wearing this garland and so he replaced with another one. However, the Lord refused to accept the new one and said that He would only wear the garland worn by Kothai. Vishnu Chitha realized that his daughter is Goddess Maha Lakshmi herself. Andal then came to be known as Choodi Kodutha Sudarkodi, meaning ‘garland offered after being worn’.
The Aadi Pooram ten-day festival is celebrated in all Lord Vishnu Temples in Tamil Nadu. Aadi Pooram festival is most famous in Srivilliputhur Andal Koil in Srivilliputhur, the birthplace of Andal, Sri Parthasarathy Swamy Temple at Chennai and at the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam.
The 10th day is celebrated as Aadi Pooram day where Thirukalyanam (divine marriage of the God and the Goddess) is conducted. Special pujas are also conducted on this day. It is believed that if unmarried girls worship Goddess Andal on the 10th day of Adi Pooram festvial, they will get married soon.
In the Saiva temples, this day is celebrated as the Valaikappu festival for Ambal, when glass bangles are offered to Ambal & then distributed to the devotees. These bangles are said to provide offsprings and generally protect us from all evils. (Valaikaappu is a festival when a pregnant woman wears glass bangles, the sound of which is said to protect her and the child from evil forces).
4. Varalakshmi Puja (July 27) – Worship of Goddess Lakshmi.
The Friday before the Full Moon, or Pournami day, of Tamil Month Aadi is chosen to perform Varalakshmi Puja. The corresponding month in the Kannada, Marathi and Telugu Calendar is the Shravan month. Worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on Varalakshmi Vrata day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength. The importance of Varalakshmi Puja is mentioned in the Skanda Purana. It is believed that importance of Varalakshmi Puja was narrated to Goddess Parvati by Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati wanted to know about a Vrata that is highly beneficial to a woman, which will help her lead a happy and prosperous life on earth. Lord Shiva then mentioned about the Varamahalakshmi Vratam.
5.Aadi Perukku (August 3) – Aadi Perukku or Padinettam Perukku is celebrated on the eighteenth day of this tamil month Aadi.
The people of Tamil Nadu celebrate monsoon through this festival. People worship the rivers (water bodies) for the rains in abundance. Aadi is the month for sowing, rooting, planting of seeds and vegetation since it is peak monsoon time.
Aadiperukku is very special in the Kaveri delta. This festival is peculiar to the all the perennial river basins of Tamil Nadu and major lakes water source areas and is intended to celebrate the water rising levels due to the onset of monsoon, which is expected to occur invariably on the 18th day of the solar month, Aadi corresponding to the 2nd or 3 August every year. Hence “Padinettam perukku” – Padinettu signifies eighteen, and Perukku denotes rising.
On this auspicious day, Goddess Parvathi Devi is worshipped by offering different rice dishes. People celebrate this occasion by offering chitrannam or rice cooked in different flavors, colors and ingredients to the river-goddess. Usually mixed rice dishes like Sweet Pongal, Coconut rice, Lemon rice, Tamarind rice and Bahala bath or curd rice are prepared. Offerings of flowers, Akshata and rice offerings are done into sacred rivers like Cauveri. As per Purana, Parvathi devi meditated upon Lord Siva to see the divine vision and Lord Siva appeared as Shanka-Naraya swami. Aadiperukku is a festival of fertility and people of Tamil Nadu especially women offer prayers. They wear new clothes and perform abhishekham for Kaveri amman.
6. Aadi Karthigai (August 10, 2012) – Festival dedicated to Lord Muruga.
7. Puthukku Paal: Majority of the people also worship snakes during the tamil months of of Aadi and Thai. They visit a Snake bill and offer cow milk, as offerings to the Snake God. They also bring sacred mud from the snake bill and apply the same on their body with a belief that it will help in getting rid of health aberrations. They offer milk to snake idols and perform pooja to remove the naga dosha for wealth and prosperity.