In Pictures: Colombo Aathi Parashakthi Mandram observes “Aadi Pooram”

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“Aadi Pooram” fell on August 15th 2007, which was a special day for Goddess. It’s believed that, the Goddess attained puberty on this day. The special day was celebrated by Hindu devotees in Colombo by carrying milk pots from one temple to another; temples and neighbourhoods were filled with various religious ceremonies. Carrying of milk pots was a telling ceremony in the city amidst the peak hours of the morning that began at day beak. There were 340 women carrying pots of milk for the Goddess on her special day.

Pots of milk were carried by women from Melmaruvaththoor Suyambu Arulmigu Aathi Parashakthi Mandram in Colombo 3 to Naattukottai Nagaraththaar (New Kathiresan) temple. Most of the women were dressed in red sarees, matching blouse, red flower garlands on the hair and glass bangles on wrists. Garlands of Margosa leaves worn on waists.

The colourful procession paraded from School Lane in Colpitty through Duplication Road, Dr. Lester James Peries Mawatha (Formerly Dickman’s Road) and Galle Road. Six men dressed in red carried the portraits of Melmaruvaththoor in front. The carriage was decorated with flower garlands and shaded with an elegant umbrella, followed by pots of milk on their heads carried by beautifully dressed women while chanting “Om Shakthi Parashakthi-Aath Parashakthi”. A ghee lamp was carried by a female devotee, and another carried the Kumbam. Devotional songs dedicated to the Goddess were played a trishaw, which was painted in red.

The procession reached the Naattukottai Nagaraththaar (New Kathiresan) temple, and priests showered the Goddess with milk, followed by a special pooja.

Milk shower for the Goddess

Colourful pageant paraded on Galle Road

Temples are sarced and meaningful form of worship

Hinduism is one of world’s oldest religions

A female devotee collected contributions while in procession

The Sun in inviting lustre

Most Hindus believe that the spirit or soul of the true self of every person is eternal

Women with dark red attire and Margosa leave garland around their waist

Limes filled with Kunkumam, which were squeezed to to drive away the evils and forces

Temples were brimming with worshippers

Feet washed with saffron water, before entering the temple

Sprit swept the surroundings

Number of women continuing to participate in carrying pots of milk is growing

Devotees worship the Panchararththi

A fleet of silver pots shone in the sun shine

An ash pumpkin filled with Kunkumam smashed on the ground by an eldrely devotee to drive away the evils

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Sri Rajarajeshwari Ammal temple, Vivekananda Hill: Milk Pots Festival in Pictures

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Goddess worship is considered prosperous. Temples are awash with devotees especially on Tuesdays to worship the Goddess.

The annual festival of Paal Kudam (milk pots) of the Sri Rajarajeshwari Ammal temple in Vivekananda Hill, Colombo 13 was held in the morning on August 14th 2007. About one hundred devotees carried milk pots on their head and paraded through Vivekanada Hill, Jampettah Street, New Chetty Street and Barber Street.

Devotees were dressed in elegant colours for the festival. Devotional songs of the Goddess were played at the temple, enchanting the vicinity. Neighbours were peeping through windows and doors of houses and offices to witness the colourful pageant.

Most women said that, they continue to make milk offering to the Goddess, and witness significant changes in their lives.

Some women brought their friends to make an offering of a pot of milk to the Goddess

Rajarajeswary Amman was decorated with Thiruneeru (holy ash)

The neighbourhood was decorated for the festival

Coconuts washed in saffron water and placed on the mouth of the pot

Unmarried women carry milk pots on their heads on special days and observe the Goddess, to find a life partner

Kids joined their mums and sisters

Kids joined their mums and sisters

Streets amass with people of all ages, carried milk pots in divine coloured attire – bringing benevolence along the parade

Blessings before the parade

Drummers led the parade

Fervour of festivity, felt by all

Kids were excited about festivals

Goddess worship is meant for prosperity

Devotees were delighted

Poojas were performed since dawn

Worshippers barefoot; parade route near temple premises

“Om Shakthi, Parashakthi” was chanted by the devotees during the parade

Rose water was sprinkled in the surroundings

Priest accompanied the milk pot-carriers

Ceremonies bring communities together

Milk carried in procession offered to the Goddess

Spirit is in the air

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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

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