Margazhi Thingal – The Month of Margazhi

The Tamil month Margazhi (Dhanur masa in Sanskrit), spanning from the mid-December to mid-January is regarded to be the early morning for the day of the devas and devis. Every month in Indian calendar has something special, but this one is super special – this is one of the months to get ourselves involved in spiritual quest instead of getting bothered about the mundane things. It’s special to all devas and devis, but very much known for Aandal (said to be one of the incarnations of Lakshmi) and her Thiruppavai. My mom used to tell the stories of Aandal during school days – how she did a cute penance for these 30 days, told out the Thiruppavai, and got to merge with Lord Narayana with her Supreme love. Everyone in the family used to chant the Thiruppavai early in the morning, so anyways, if you are at home, you have to wake up!
One very exciting thing about the month is you get amazing tasty yummy steaming hot prasadams, that’s perfect for the chill weather, in almost all temples in South India, early in the morning.:-) So, one thing that I used to do when I was in school is to get up in the morning, help my mom put kolam in front of the house (my mom and sis might disagree to this;-) ) , go to the nearby temples, one after another, collecting prasadams! 😛 By the way, it used to make my parents extremely happy and I used to get a lot of goodies in return, which added on to my interest in waking up early (at least most of the days! 😉 ).
*In this month very elaborate and intricate artistic patterns – we call it “Kolam” – are drawn at entrance of all houses. Most of the roads, atleast in Tamilnadu looks spic and span and fully decorated. This can be definitely seen on every road if you go into any village in Tamilnadu. All the houses will have lamps lit at the entrance.
One of amma’s Kolams
During this month we have the music festival, all the concert halls will have top to new carnatic artists performing. Apart from this, groups of people along with many children come on the roads with dolak, nadaswaram, mridangam singing the hyms of  the divine and would stop in front of each house(we call them bhajana ghostis).  On the last day of the month, we have the procession of Aandal and Rangamannar(Lord Narayana), nicely decorated and brought in front of every house 🙂 – More like a reception after their wedding.
Aandal with Narayana on a procession in front of our house
 Vaikunta ekadashi, Thiruvadurai (again wait for the yummy “kaLi with kootuprasadam on this day) and Hanumath Jayanti are the famous festivals in this month.
What makes me feel so proud in this is how in our culture, spirituality was induced through various means of art, food (yummy prasadams) right from the childhood and naturally got good habits in us! Over the years, this tradition has definitely seen a set back. It’s indeed very sad that nowadays very few parents know of these themselves. Most of them are busy thinking about how to manage the family, worried about various things and fail to tell their kids on our culture! Little do they know that all these not only add life into our living, but makes life much more easier even with a little amount of spiritual quiotent added to our life.
I do miss those days when I used to be in Chennai, going to the 4-5 temples, but thanks to the habit induced right from my childhood – it’s changed to doing group sadhana these days 😉 early in the morning(though its much more challenging for the cold Bangalore weather)! Group of us get together and meditate and do kriya, listen to some nice knowledge! It used to be seeing the divine only outside, but now, its not only confined to seeing the divine outside, but also within! Isn’t that so cool?!

PS: This year, Gurudev has inaugurated a super serene Ganeha, Lakshmi Narayana, Devi temples in Sri Sri Gurukul, next to the Art of Living Bangalore ashram – felt it was done so that I don’t miss the long missed temple ritual ;-).

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13 Comments

Filed under Culture & Tradition, Did you know?!

13 responses to “Margazhi Thingal – The Month of Margazhi

  1. There is so much clarity in your words, the flow of the blog was nice. Do you have knowledge on why certain customs/festivals are practiced, the significance of the same. For example aruvathamoovar ( spelling right 🙂 festival ??

    If you could write about that it would be great.

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  2. ajit

    I just remembered Shobhana in the movie ‘Thalapathy’ walking down the river with ‘Kunitha puruvamum’ playing in the background….somehow always thought that was a Margazhi song….turns out it’s from ‘Thevaram’. Nice post….there’s lots to write about Mylapore itself….keep it coming!

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  3. Karpu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. I like this Prasadam tradition !! 🙂 In India, one need not worry about food, just visiting a few temples will take care of the day!
    =>we need prasadam on our followups and satsangs!!;)

    I think the childhood temple tours can now be extended for a week long temple touring of places in India! Like Guruji went for the 5 elements touring last year.

    Yes! I knew it. you are used to waking up in morning. I have (one more!) theory- those who went to early morning school in childhood find it easy to come for group sadhana. I had school at 12.30 you know, so its not so easy to come for 6am group sadhana!

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  5. Really well written. Nice post on Marghazhi thingal.

    For a minute with the prasadam drift, you could have also called it Margazhi thingal (read eating) :-). I used to go to temples in US precisely for Indian food. So food rocks without a doubt 🙂

    Also interesting is the fact that it is the month when therez a semblance of winter (if I may say so) in Chennai and yet so many people are up early

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  6. Kokila

    Hi Karpagavalli,
    Now got to know the speciality of markazhi month..:))

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  7. Pingback: Amma’s Kolams « Karpagavalli’s Blog

  8. Pingback: I love my Guru… My love(Guru) story :-) « Karpagavalli’s Blog

  9. vel

    i have read ur blog….really interesting…anyway ,can you tl me the characteristic of the child who were born in margazhi monday…is there any specialty…?.

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    • karpagavalli

      thank you vel!

      are u asking because it is called “margazhi thingal”? “thingal” here just means “month” 🙂 and not Monday, as it is generally used.

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  10. Rama

    why we are litting one lamp in the morning during margazhi alone?

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    • Hello Rama,
      When we light a lamp, we feel nice inside, something shifts inside… Haven’t you had this experience?
      During Margazhi, since the placing of the earth and sun are such that, the sun rises late in Tamil Nadu, and it’s cold… Doing these rituals, makes one fell nice and supposedly now people have found that it’s highly beneficial for our health.
      There is no rule as such on how many lamps. It’s our family/society tradition.

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  11. Just last evening my mom was telling me similar stories of her childhood 🙂 Sad thing sometimes about living in a country abroad is that we can’t always have the benefit of being able to go through these delightful rituals and hence we don’t always remember them.. Definitely if I had to get up early mornings for a month and be rewarded with yummy prasadams for it I would never miss an opportunity to celebrate Margazhi maasam 🙂 🙂 But stories like yours and my moms help keep the rituals alive! Thanks a lot!

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