Aadi Perukku festival of Tamil Nadu, a low-key celebaration this year!


Aadi Perukku is a widely celebrated  Tamil festival  on the 18th day of the Tamil month of Aadi (mid-July to mid-August). It is a day of offerings and prayers to the rivers, which are essential for our survival and prosperity. Also known as Aadi Pirappu, the purpose of this festival is to pay obeisance to life-sustaining water-sources, in particular, to  rivers and to pray to goddess to be blessed with copious supply of water, happiness and prosperity in the months to come. It is a sort of Nature Worship invoking various goddesses to shower bountiful grace on the humans who are at the mercy of Mother Nature. This festival is widely observed by women in Tamil Nadu.


In the Hindu tradition, much importance is given to water which is considered sacred; the Indian rivers Ganges, Yamuna, Cauvery and Godavari are believed to be  sacred.  Water is one among the five important elements - Pancha Boothams. That is the reason why many Hindu temples have a water tank to meet the needs of the temple and devotees. World over, many civilizations  sprang up near the major rivers and their growth and development were entwined with rivers.

Adiperukku festival in the river. JattDiSite.com

Aadi pirappu, also referred to as `Pathinettam perukku in Tamil has close links with  all the perennial river basins  and lakes of Tamil Nadu  and elsewhere. This  celebration marks the  rising of water  with 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. In the name "Pathinettam perukku" - Pathinettu  means  eighteen, and Perukku denotes rising.
This festival has been in existence for centuries and is associated  with fertility, sex and reproduction in humans. This water ritual practice is performed on the banks of Rivers and was patronized by the kings and Royal households centuries ago.  In the agricultural belts in Tamil Nadu, in the month of Aadi, preparation will be afoot for sowing, rooting, planting of seeds and vegetation.  The monsoon season brings in plenty of rain to meet the needs of the people.  In Aadi,
nurseries are raised in the fields subsequently transferred and after North- East Retreating Monsoon the crop will be ready for harvest during Thai Pongal.


This festival is also celebrated in in many parts of India and it goes by different names. Aadi Ammavasai is equally important to do pithroo karyams (invoking our forefathers / ancestors). People in thousands go to the  river bank and do tharpanam on the day of Adi Ammavasai. On the day of Adi Perkku  and  during this month,  temples dedicated to goddess such as Kali or Mariamman come alive and pujas are performed with religious fervor. The temples are overcrowded with lots of women devotees.

The weather playing truant,  Aadi Perukku festival is celebrated on a low key in Tamil Nadu for some years. This year 2017, the merriment is not there very much there because of inadequate water in the rivers. The Cauvery river and its tributaries are almost bone dry because of Monsoon failure and prevalence of unprecedented drought condition. The Cauvery is the lifeline of lakhs of people, living all along its course. On this day  in the past in the 1950s and 1960s, the river  used to be in spate during the month of Aadi. 

In place near Kumbakonam, small rivers like Kudamuruti, Veera Chozhan, Arasalaru, etc., would be full up to the tip of the banks. Now, the water scenario in the delta district of Thanjavur is pathetic and unfortunate.  This year, the amount of water available in the Cauvery is very low. The water scarcity is further complicated by the row between the state of Karnataka (Catchment area lies in the Kudagu region) and Tamil Nadu where the delta districts (the riparian region) depend only on the Cauvery water for agricultural and drinking needs. 

Locally, on the Aadiperukku day, women folks and newly wedded couples go to the river banks and perform pujas. To meet the people's needs the Tamil Nadu government at many places along the river bed sinks bore-wells to supply water to the devotees. At Srirangam, the ghats at Amma mandapam. Garuda Mandapam,etc., have bathing facilities.


01. Because prayers and pujas are  done to propitiate the powerful goddesses and seek their protection from the inauspicious aspects that are often associated with the month, it has been a tradition that  no weddings or other similar functions are celebrated during Aadi. Not even opening of new offices and new businesses.

02. Young girls go to the river banks and do  puja offering Kaadholai (earrings mad of palm leaf), Karugamani (black beads) and Kaapparisi (a sweet made of rice and jaggery). The general belief is that they will be blessed with good husband.

03. Normally temples dedicated to goddesses are busy during this month.