Panguni Uthiram Special:
Panguni Uthiram occurs in the last and twelfth month of the Tamil calendar, which is Panguni. The Moon transits into the nakshatra (star) Uthiram occurs at this time. This day is a Full Moon day or Poornima in the month of Panguni. It corresponds with the Hindu month of Phalguna. It is known as Meena Uttara Phalguni in Sanskrit.
Panguni Uthiram is a very famous festival dedicated to Muruga. This day is perceived as a very auspicious day as the Uthiram nakshatra falls on the same day as the Full Moon (Poornima). This day celebrates the celestial marriages of divine couples, the divine union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Goddess Parvati married Shiva as Gowri in Kanchipuram. This auspicious marriage is called Gowri Kalyanam.
It also signifies the marriage of Muruga to Devasena, or Deivanai, the daughter of Indra, King of the Gods. Panguni Uthiram also witnessed the divine marriage of poet Andaal with Rangamannar. According to the epic Valmiki Ramayana, Sita Devi was married to Sri Rama on this day and star. Narayana marries Komalavalli Naachiyaar and gives his Kalyana Kola Seva to his devotees.
Panguni Uthiram is a day of divine marriages. All temples carry their festival idols to the main Mandapam, where they conduct marriages for the divine couples on a grand scale.
People flock to the Murugan temples on this day to offer worship and revere him. Devotees walk long distances to Murugan temples carrying pooja offerings in a 'Kavadi,' a short wooden rod with a wooden arch carried on the shoulders. This offering signifies the devotees fulfilling their vows. The 'Kavadi’ is covered in yellow or ochre-colored cloth and carries milk or flowers to be offered to the deity. Many devotees pierce their bodies with spikes, spears, and needles for atonement and fulfillment of their prayers. Special poojas are performed to the deity in temples. The temple deities are beautifully decorated and taken out in ceremonial processions.
Lord Murugan, the God of War, represents victory over evil and is much revered by devotees. They perform the traditional circumambulation of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Women carry milk pots on Kavadis as offering to the deity. Float festivals form an important part of Panguni Uthiram.
According to the Brahmanda Purana, all holy water joins the Thumburu Theertha, one of the seven sacred water tanks in Tirupati Tirumala. This auspicious day marks the importance of married life, highlighted by the divine marriages that occur on this day. Panguni Uthiram underlines the importance of Grahasta Dharma, the married life, and a householder's position. This factor is highlighted in this festival that celebrates several celestial marriages on this day.
Panguni Uthiram is an indicator of marriage's divine role as it focuses on relationships, the importance of marriage and family life, and then experiencing liberation. The festival underlines the importance of living in harmony within a society. The traditional belief is that a visit to the temples can resolve any issue related to marriage and married couples.
Panguni Uthiram is the day of the incarnation of Ayyappan and is celebrated as Ayyappa Jayanti. Ayyappa was born of Shiva and Maha Vishnu's divine union, who took the Avatar (incarnation) of Mohini. Ayyappa is also known as Hariharasuthan.
It is on Panguni Uthiram that Goddess Mahalakshmi incarnated on Earth. She emerged from the milk ocean when it was being churned (Samudra Manthan) by the Devas and Asuras. This day is celebrated as Mahalakshmi Jayanti.
Panguni Uthiram holds a special reverence for Earth, the Prithvi Lingam in Ekambareshwarar Temple. The temple is dedicated to Shiva. Panguni Uthiram is the most important festival celebrated in this temple. The Panguni Brahmotsavam lasts for ten days in the Tamil month of Panguni. It concludes with the Kalyanotsavam. The festive deities of the temple are taken around in processions carried on various mounts. On a concluding day, the Kalyanotsavam - marriage of Ekambareshwarar is performed. Panguni Uthiram is said to be a very powerful, divine, and auspicious month.