TamilNadu is the centre of the dravidian culture of India and enjoys its typical festivals apart from those which are celebrated throughout the country. The festivals have their own flavous with bustling colourful sarees being worn and lots of flowers being offered to the deity.
Pongal is the harvest festival celebrated for three days in Tamil Nadu. Bhogi is celebrated on January 13, Pongal on January 14 and Mattu Pongal on January 15 every year. During this time people wear new clothes and draw beautiful motifs in front of their houses with rice flour. The cattle too is decorated and rested during this time. Sweet made of the first rice is cooked, which is known as the Pongal.
Commonly known as the Float Festival, this magnificent festival is celebrated in Madurai. On the night of the full moon in January, ornamented icons of goddess Meenakshi and her consort are taken out in a colourful procession to the huge Mariamman Teppakulam. The icons are floated in the tank on a raft decked with flowers and flickering lamps. The Meenakshi Kalyanam is a ten day festival, which takes place in April – May at Madurai. On this day the Goddess Meenakshi is wedded to Lord Shiva. The deities are taken out in the decorated chariots and the festival is celebrated with lot of pomp and show.
Skanda Sashti dedictaed to Lord Shiva is celebrated all over Tamilnadu falling between Oct 15 - Nov 15. Marked as one of the most sacred festivals of the state it celebrates the victory of Lord Subramanya over the demon Taraka. The festival begins six days beforehand and on the main day of Skanda Sashti thousands of devotees’ visit the Sri Dhandayuthapaniswamy Temple and the Sri Subramaniyaswamy Temple to offer prayers to Lord Subramanya.
This 10 festival is ceIebrated all over the state when most of the temples. take out their deities. These deities are posted on decorated mounts and are themselves also decked up. They are supposed to visit the Lord venkateshwara for his darshan.
This festival is celebrated in a grand way at the Arunachaleswarar Temple at Tiruvannamalai. This festival according to the locals is a very complex festival and involves a number of festivities. During the Karthika Peruvizha, Tamil Nadu chariots and palanquins are beautifully decorated. The festival marks the worship of all the gods related to the solar system of the Indian mythology. Surya, Soma, Managala, Kuja or Angaraka, Brihaspati, Budha, Sani, Sukra, Ketu and Rahu. There are special wooden animal vehicles that are also painted brightly. These vehicles depict various animals such as lion, horse, swan and bull. You will a cart covered in gold that is pulled by a pair of silver horses.
This tamil festival is supposed to be one of the oldest celebrated festivals known. It is said that this was the full moon day when Lord Siva appeared as a huge flame of light before Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. It is also said the the demon Tripurasur was slained by Lord Shiva on this very day.
The day celebrated by lighting lamps all throughout the state. People decorate their houses and light these small oil lit lamps. The temples and streets are decorated as well and thus the festival is celebrated with much pomp and show.
Music Festival in Chennai:
The Music Festival in Chennai is a rich cultural extravaganza comprising amazing vocal, instrumental and dance performances. Also known as the Margazhi Festival of Music and Dance it begins in mid December and lasts till mid January. There is no doubt that those who love classical music will simply enjoy being a part of this festival as they can listen to various instrumental recitals and also enjoy classical music in Tamil, Telegu and Kannada.
Mamallapuram Dance Festival:
Noted as one of the main cultural attractions of Tamilnadu this is a vibrant colorful festival that celebrates the aura of the several classical dances in India. The festival generally takes place in the beautiful ancient city of Mamallapuram during the months of January and February. Experts as well as upcoming dancers perform in the open-air venue of Arjuna's penance.
Jallikattu – Bull Fight:
This is a popular festival that is celebrated during the Pongal festival all over Tamilnadu in areas such as Madurai, Chennai and Trichy areas. During this festival the bulls are decorated with mango leaves and garlands and bundles of money are tied to their colored horns. But what is to be seen is how the unarmed villagers try to extract the bundles of money from the ferocious bulls. This festival is again a huge favorite with foreigners.