The bright Aadi Perukku festival of 2018 - a joyous occasion to remember!!

Aadi Perukku 2018
Aadi Perukku is an auspicious festival of the Tamil Hindus living in the Cauvery delta region  of Tamil Nadu, in particular, and  it reminds us the beginning of a new cultivation cycle. Soon  preparation will be in full swing for sowing, rooting and  planting of seeds and vegetation.  This year 2018,  God has been kind to us and in almost  many rivers of Tamil Nadu, you can see plenty of water flowing, infusing joy and happiness among the people living all along the river banks. In the past weather playing truant, Tamil Nadu did not get enough water to take care of its agricultural needs. This year the SW Monsoon that lashed the Western India brought in  plenty of rain to meet the needs of the people and the farmers.  Aadi, is the right time to  raise  nurseries  in the agricultural fields  and subsequently  get them transferred  to the  other fields for sowing.  After NE Retreating Monsoon the crop will be ready for harvest during Thai Pongal.

 Aadi’  corresponds to the months of mid-July to mid-August, as per the Gregorian calendar. Aadi Perukku is a celebration that emphasizes  our indebtedness to the bountiful river and its  life-sustaining properties of water. Normally rivers are  Nature’s gifts to mankind and that is the reason  why in Hinduism the worship of river is given due importance.  Aadi Perukku is also called as ‘Padinettam Perukku’ (‘Padinettu’ in Tamil means ‘eighteen’ and ‘perukku’ implies ‘a rising’).  It is a sort of ''Nature Worship''
dedicated to goddesses  associated with the rivers.
Aadi Perukku 2018
Especially women in large number celebrate this festival.  Another aspect of this festival is  collective / common prayer by the people and family members  for copious supply of rain in the ensuing NE Monsoon  so  that that would result in better harvest  during  the month of Thai (January- February). After taking a dip  in the holy river water.  devotees  wear new clothes and perform some rituals at the bathing ghats along the Cauvery River. This is followed by ‘abhishekham’ of Kaveri Amman. Women devotees prepare a special lamp and place it on the mango leaf after adding a thin yellow thread, turmeric and flowers. They light the lamp and let it float down the river. They do it in the belief the Goddess will light up their lives with peace of mind and welfare. As for young girls this festival is a good opportunity to pray for a good, compatible husband, They offer prayer along with married women. Common belief is that if they make offerings of Kaapparisi (a sweet dish made from jaggery (in Tamil Vellam or Nattusakkarai)) and hand crushed rice), Karugamani (black colored beads) and Kaadholai (earrings carved out of palm leaves) shall be rewarded with a good husband. Newly wedded couples spend time during this festival time in the girls' house. In some families, on this day, a gold coin is added to their ‘Mangalsutra’ or thali’. The purpose of this simple ritual is to pray for their longevity and prosperity  of their line of generations.
Women wearing new mangalyasutra

An odd aspect of  Aadi month is  normally, Hindus from various communities won't celebrate weddings or any other auspicious family functions in this month because this  month is mostly dedicated to propitiating the powerful Goddesses for our protection and welfare. Even people avoid buying new  properties or opening new business.
Aadi Perukku  Anudinam
At the bathing ghats of the river Cauvery at Srirangam, Thiruvaiyaru, Kumbakonam and other  towns, people in thousands  visited the banks  today  (Friday; 18th Aadi Maatham) to celebrate Aadi Perukku. They offered special prayers, to express their gratitude  to the river which is the lifeline of the delta districts. The purpose of puja is to sustain prosperity in this region, as the people living here are dependent on agriculture. It is a sort of traditional thanksgiving festival  celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month of Aadi. The festival is celebrated to show gratitude to the Cauvery river for taking care of the needs of the common people and  farmers. The river is the symbol of prosperity in the Delta region. The special celebration is, unlike previous years, this year the Cauvery and its tributaries have adequate water to meet  the immediate needs of the people.  On the last week end along with my family members I went to a temple near Kumbakonam and we crossed the small rivers Kudamuruty and Arasalaru and it was a pleasure watching the water flowing  gently touching  serene banks on either side. In the 1950s and 1960s, whenever I visited the near-by villages close to  Kumbakonam, in particular Veepathur, my mother's native place, I could see  copious flow of water in other tributaries of the Cauvery.  In the last decade or so, the scenario in the upper delta region had changed and it was one of disappointment and desperation. The river beds were  almost barren, not even pockets of water here and there.  Anyway,  this time seeing the small rivers full of water was a great sight that would  linger in our heart for sometime. I wish the water would flow in these  rivers year round and bring happiness and prosperity to this region which was once called ''the Granary of South India''.