India is known for festivals and many of our festivals are colorful and filled with a variety of food, snacks, clothes and decoration. South India has its share of festivals and among them is the Aadi Pandigai which is celebrated in Tamil Nadu to welcome the monsoon. This Aadi month falls between July 15th and August 15th. This Aadi month is also the beginning for festivals in South.
During this month Amman ( Parvathy) is prayed and offerings are made to the goddess in the form of pooja and prasadam. On the first day of the month which is called as the Aadi pirappu the house is decorated with mango tree leaves at the entrance and rice paste kolam is drawn at the entrance with khavi ( brick-red paste ) as an outer line. I was always asked by my grandmother to do the outline only and not the main Kolam. On this day married women change their sacred yellow thread of their mangalsuthra or thali. And lets not forget the Aadi sale for which everyone is waiting for, this month every textile store gives a good sale for clothes and most of the families try to finish their shopping in this month.
The most important days in the Aadi month is Aadi Velli (Friday) and Sunday is also considered very auspicious. Mostly on Aadi Velli the families go to their Amman temple and offer koozh to the goddess Amman. This koozh is a very healthy drink which is in the form of kanji (porridge) that is cooked in the temple by ladies and is immediately offered to the goddess. This koozh is made with ragi, varagu arisi ( Kodo millet), curd, salt, and water. This is prepared in an earthen pot in front of the temple with the help of wood.
On the day 1, there is a great feast that consists of - Paruppu Payasam, Vada, Sambar, Thayir Pachadi, Avial, Apalam, Rasam, Coconut Rice or Tamarind Rice and Poli. They begin their day with this amazing feast and enjoy this festive meal with the entire family.
Varalakshmi Pooja also falls in this month of Aadi where the ladies worship goddess Lakshmi. Varalakshmi Vrata is performed by married woman for the well being of all the family members, especially husband. The woman who is observing the Varalakshmi vratam abstains from eating certain kind of food. In some regions, women fast till the puja period.
On this day Kozhukattai, Idli , Payasam, Vada is prepared and enjoyed by the family for lunch. Few families even have Sakkarai Pongal on this day. The food is placed in front of the goddess and the women pray for the well-being and wealth of their husband and family.
The 18th day of Aadi is also celebrated in a very grand manner, it is believed that Amman is pregnant on that day and special food is prepared. All mixed rice is prepared like lemon rice, tamarind rice, coconut rice, Curd Rice, Avial, Appalam, Sakkarai Pongal, Thengai Payasam.
During this whole month, no weddings and any special occasions are celebrated, it is considered not auspicious in this month hence no weddings or special events are conducted.