During the 12 months of the Tamil calendar year, every month there is a festival in Madurai.
The Chitra festival is celebrated for 12 days during the Tamil month of Chitrai (April in the English calendar) and begins with the flag hoisting on the first day. On the 8th day the coronation of Meenakshi Amman takes place. On the 9th day the Goddess is taken out in procession. On the 10th day the celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar is performed, followed by car festival the next day, Theertha festival is celebrated on the 12th day with the Lord and Goddess going round Masi streets.
The spring festival is hosted for ten days during this month. On the 10th day milk mango offerings would be offered to the deities. The Lord and Goddess would proceed to the New Mandapam stay there and be taken out in process. On the day of Moola star, the procession of 63 Saints would be conducted in the morning and at night Thirugnanasambandar would be taken out in procession.
Oonjal festival would be conducted for ten days during this month. On the `10th day, the triple fruit pooja would be performed. Abhishekam would be performed for Sivakami Amman and Arulmighu Nadarajar on the day of Uthiram. The Panchasabha Nadaraja Moorthy would be taken out in procession along the fur Masi streets.
MONTH OF AADI (JULY):
is celebrated for 10 days during this month. The festival would be confined to only to the Amman, who will be taken out in procession along Aadi streets. Spcial recitals of Nadaswaram would be the highlight of this festival.
would be conducted for 18 days. Six days of the festival would be devoted to Arulmighu Chandrasekarar and the balance 12 days would be for the Panchamoorthies. On the 7th day of the festival, coronation would be performed for Sundareswarar and on the 8th day the horse reins would be exchanged. On the 9th day the episode of Lord Sivaperuman carrying soil for earning pittu would be enacted while the theertham on the occasion of the joining of Avittam and Pooranai would be celebrated. On the same night, Arulmighu Thirupparankundram Subramaniyar and Thiruvadhavur Arulmighu Manickavasaka Peruman would bid farewel. During the festival of Chandrasekarar, procession would be taken out along the second corridor of Swami shrine. The Panchamoorthies would be taken around in processiion along Aavani Moola streets. During these days the ten miracles performed by the Lord of Madurai would be enacted by the Sivachariars.
The Navarathri festival would be celebrated for Amman in a grand manner during this month. Amman would appear in a separate dress and look every day and bless the devotees at the `kolu mandapam’ in Amman Sannidhi. Kalpa pooja and Lakshacharna would be performed everyday for the Amman at the sanctum. On the 10th day the washing of hair ceremoney would be performed. On that Panchamoorthies would be taken out in procession within the temple premises. On all ten days of the festival cultural festivals would be hosted in a grand manner. The entire temple complex would be bathed in colour lamps and the dolls would be arranged in a manner to find a niche in the hearts of the devotees.
Kanda Sashti fesival would be celebrated for six days at the Koodal Kumarar Sannidhi. Soorasamharam is not performed here. On the seventh day when Arulmighu Muthukumarar goes out in procession, `Pavadai Dharshan’ would be conducted.
On the day of Deepavali festival, a durbar would be held for the employees of the temple.
On the days of Pooram in this month, the ceremony of hoisting and swinging Meenakshi Amman would be performed.
Deepam (lights) festival would be conducted for ten days during this month. Swamy would be taken out in procession along the Aadi streets. On the day of Karthigai one lakh lamps would be lit in the temple. On that day a bonfire would be lit in East Masi street.
Oil anointing ceremony would be conducted for nine days in this month at the New Mandapam. Arulmighu Meenakshi Amman would be taken out in procession along the Chitra streets. On the day of Thiruvadhirai, Arudhra Dharshan will take place. Pancha Sabha Nataraja Moorthigal would be taken in procession along the Masi streets.On the day of Ashtami the Lord and Goddess would ride the oxen vehicle and go round Kottai streets. Thiruvembavai festival would be conducted for ten days. Everyday, Arulmighu Manickavasagar would be taken out in procession along Aadi streets in the mornings. On the 10th rotating wheel and golden spring ceremonies would be conducted. In the mornings Thiruvembavai and Thirupalli Yezhutchi lyrics would be recited and there will be religious discourses by spiritual leaders. competitions would be conducted for school and college studens and prizes presented.
Pongal festival is popularly known as the Harvest Festival. The three-day festival is celebrated to thank the Sun, the nature and the cattle for giving the farmers a good harvest. Pongal is one of the major festivals of Madurai and is celebrated with great pomp and show. On the first day, known as Bogi, the houses are freshly painted and clutter is removed. The second day is the main day on which large-scale celebrations take place. Mango leaves are used for decoration. Sugarcanes and pongal (sweet rice) are the main culinary items. The third day is called Mattu Pongal and on this day, cattle are worshipped for bringing prosperity.
Jallikattu is more of a sport than a festival and is held mostly in villages. It is a part of the Pongal celebrations. People in huge numbers throng the open grounds to witness the game of strength. The sport is basically a show of courage and valor expressed by the means of taming wild bulls.
The float festival would be conducted for 12 days during the month. Swamy and Amman would be taken out in procession along the Chitra streets. On the 8th day the casting of net festival would be held while theertham festival and the pushing of the float would be held on the 10th day. On the 11th day harvesting of sheaves and on the 12th day the float festival would be conducted.
The Maasi Mandala festival would be conducted for a mandalam (48 days). Six days of the festival is devoted to Arulmighu Vinayaka and six days for Arulmighu Kumar and three days for the triumvirate and six days for Chandrasekarar. The deities would be taken out in procession along the second corridor of Swamy Sannidhi. Panchamoorthy festival would be celebrated for ten days, when they will be taken out in procession along the Chitra streets. Theertham would be held on the day of Maham. Silent festival would be conducted for nine days of which three days would be for Chandrasekarar and an equal number of days for Swamy and Chandikeswarar. On the 10th day, the flag would be lowered and accounts read.
The summer spring festival would be hosted for nine days at the Velliaymbala mandapam. Swamy and Amman would be taken in procession along Chitra streets. On the day of Panguni Uthiram, Swamy and Amman would proceed to Arulmighu Thiruvappudayar temple and bless those who excel in their religious belief by sprinkling `rasa vaadham’.
Dance Festival (January/ March/ November/ December)
A dance festival is being organized by the Tourism Department for Fifteen days. Exponents of various dances forms from all over the country perform in this festival.