Chithirai Thiruvizha is one of the main festivals of Tamilnadu. Chithirai Thiruvizha is celebrated during the Tamil month of Chithirai, or Chaitra, which spans approximately from the middle of April to the middle of May. Chithirai Thiruvizha is actually the festival of Madurai. Chithirai Thiruvizha begins from Madurai too. Chithirai Thiruvizha begins with Kodi Yetram, which is then followed by Meenakshi pattabishkam, then Dikvijayam and the Divine Wedding, Tirukalyanam. Chithirai Thiruvizha is clebrated on the first Full Moon Day of the Tamil month of Chithirai.
The next day's programme is called Ther Tiruvizha. The two presiding deities of the city of Madurai, Goddess Meenakshi Amman and Lord Sundareshwara, are taken out from their abode in the Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai. They are taken on a pompously decorated chariot and travel all round the city, offering blessings to the needy and to the devoted. This is one of the important parts of the festival of Chithirai Thiruvizha. It is actually the preparation of the great wedding to be followed next morning. According to the Tamil myths, Madurai was the place of the grand celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi Amman and Lord Sundareshwara. The Chithirai Thiruvizha is celebrated to commemorate that mythical occasion.
According to the myths Sundararaja Perumal, the brother of Goddess Meenakshi Amman, came late in that wedding. Following that story, the icon of Sundararaja Perumal enters the city by the evening of the next day. Meanwhile, Sundararaja Perumal takes rest on the northern banks of the River Vaigai. People gather in numbers in that northern bank of River Vaigai to welcome Sundararaja Perumal into the city as Kalalagar. The name of this particular event of the Chithirai Thiruvizha is called Etirsevail, literally denoting welcoming from the opposite side. Alagar however, got into the River Vaigai, but hearing that the marriage ceremony is over, returns angrily from the mid way.
Events in the Chithirai Thiruvizha
The Events in the Chithirai Thiruvizha are Kodi Yetram which is the start of the Chithirai Thiruvizha, Parrabhishekam when Goddess Meenakshi Amman is coroneted the Queen of Madurai, Digvijayam as Goddess Meenakshi Amman conquers lands, Meenakshi Tirukalyanam or the wedding, Ther Thiruvizha or the Chariot Festival, Etirsevai or welcoming alagar, and finally Alagar Vaigai Elenthuarulal, as Alagar returns from the Vaigai River.
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