Madurai is famous for its spirit of festivity. There are a number of festivals celebrated in the city, forming an important part of its cultural heritage. People from across the globe gather here to be a part of these festivals. All the major festivals in the Madurai city of Tamil Nadu are celebrated with great pomp and show. The city is swept away by the tides of spirituality. In order to be blessed and to satisfy their desires, people celebrate the festivals with great enthusiasm. These festivals are an ideal time to remember the Lord and to seek his mercy. All the festivals celebrated in the city have a reason and a story behind them.
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.
Chithirai Festival is celebrated on the Full Moon Day of the Tamil
month of Chithirai i.e. in the month of April/May. The festival marks
the wedding of Goddess Meenakshi to Lord Sundareswarer. A procession of
a gold idol of Lord Azaghar, seated on a horse, is carried out by the
devotees from Azaghar Koil to Madurai. This is done to take the Lord to
Madurai for attending the wedding rituals. The festival stretches on for
about 10 days and the participation of the devotees is unmatched.
Festival of the Cradle
During this festival, Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundarewarer are taken
in a procession to a mirror chamber. Here, they are placed on a swing
for nine days which rocks slowly.
The festival takes place in August/September. It is basically organized
to celebrate the coronation of Lord Sundareswarer. Priests narrate
mythological stories of Siva through a play called 'Lila'. It includes
the recitation of 64 miracles of Siva, which saved the city from
adversity. The venue of the celebrations is the Sundareswarer Temple.
Float Festival is one of the main festivals celebrated in Madurai. It
takes place on the full moon night of the Tamil month, Thai, which falls
between mid January and mid February. The concept of the festival dates
back to the 17th century, when it was celebrated for the first time by
King Thirumalai Nayak.
This cultural festival is organized by the Tamil Nadu Tourism
Department. Dancers from all over the nation participate in this
fifteen-day festival. Various dance forms are presented by the