Adi Amavasai Pictorial: Poojas offered for forefathers on the auspicious day

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Aadi Amavasai, a day sacred to obsequies for the manes. This special day is dedicated to our forefathers, which is observed annually during the Tamil month of July. The new moon in the Tamil month of Aadi is observed with special prayers, poojas and offering of food to the forefathers. Amavasai is a new moon begins its new cycle.

This year Aadi Amavasai was observed on August 12th 2007. Keerimala in Jaffna Peninsula is popular for Aadi Amavasai. A special vegetable called “Kaaththottikaai”, which got a bitter taste, is consumed on this special day. It’s specially sold on this day in Jaffna.

Hindus gathered in Crow Island, Colombo 15 to pray for their forefathers while carrying out religious rites. The religious rites were conducted by the Saiva Kurukkal (who carries out funeral rites of the Hindus) on the shore individually. Some worshippers offered vegetables and rice to the Saiva Kurukkal. The worshippers began to come to the sea at dawn to take a holy dip. They were given sesame seeds to throw into the sea. After taking a dip in the holy sea, they went to the temples to pray for their forefathers. The weather was gloomy. Ghee lamps were lit; manthras were chanted; bells began to toll. Motchcha Archcanais (which is performed for the dear departed loved ones) were performed for the souls to rest in peace. Devotees thronged the temples in thousands. Some worshippers offer tonsure on this day.

It’s also believed that, Chithra Pournami, which falls in April is dedicated to late mothers. And Aadi Amavasai, which falls in July is dedicated to late fathers. Young unmarried girls and married women usually do not take part in rites carried out on these days. Elderly women who have lost their husbands participate in the religious rites.

Raja Kopuram (main tower with sculptures) of Srimath Arunasaleswara Devasthanam in Mutwal

The day was dedicated to forefathers

Polished seasame seeds were sprinkled into the sea

Aadi Amavasai is similar to All Souls Day which is observed by the Roman Catholics around the world

A holy dip in the sea makes a person’s physical and mental impurities to disappear in water

Religious fervour was felt in the vicinity

Offerings made on this day would reach the forefathers and appease them quickly

Worshippers came to take a dip in the sea at 3am, and continued till noon

Some worhippers regret to being unable to got to Keerimalai

Priest performing religious rituals

A ring of Thettpai (made out of grass) was worn while carrying out the religious rites

Rites were performed by the families for their forefathers

Priests sat on sand and carried out the main rites

Hindus refrain from having meat on this special day

The worshippers fast for the day

Sesame seeds are considered holy and used in auspicious occasions and rituals

Motchcha Archchnai was performed for their forefathers [pithru poojas]

Worshippers gathered in hundreds despite the rain

Religious songs which were dedicated to the dead played in the neighbourhood

Hindus believe in rebirth

Trays of fruits beautifully arranged for offerings

Devotees thronged the temples

A Brass Vel with Valli Ammai and Theivayanai idols taken on procession after taking a dip in the holy sea

Special poojas were conducted throughout the day by the priests

Lord Murugan, Valli Ammai and Theivayanai were decorated in the Vasantha Mandapam (special poojas take place here during the festivity)

Special poojas were conducted throughout the day by the priests

Banana leaves used to serve vegetarian meals during the time of fasting

Shops in the surroundings

Garlands and fruits added beauty to the day

Aadi, Tamil month of July runs from Mid July to Mid August, is considered holy and filled with several auspicious days while rituals and festivities galore at temples and homes

Some fast the whole day for the dear departed loved ones

The month of Aadi has the most festivals

Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com

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