What is Panguni Uthiram?
Panguni is the last month in the Tamil calendar and is celebrated as Phalgun Purnima in North India. The full moon in the month of Panguni is celebrated as Panguni Uthiram. This day falls between the months of March and April. Phalgun Purnima is celebrated as Holi in the northern parts of India, especially in Braj, Vrindavan, Mathura, Barsana, and Kumaoni. Lord Muruga is widely worshipped on this day, in the lengths and breadths of the globe.
Lord Muruga is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He occupies a significant place in the people’s mind of Tamil Nadu, so the festival is celebrated with enormous happiness and joy. Not only in Tamil Nadu, but the festival of Panguni Uthiram is so famous across the globe. Tamil people, who were settled in the other parts of the world, celebrate this day with enormous enthusiasm. Singapore, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia are some of the countries which celebrate this festival in a grand manner.
Significance of Panguni Uthiram
Kalyana Vrata is also celebrated as the festival of Panguni Uttiram. This day is highly significant for both Saivites and Vaishnavites. On this full moon day, Lord Shiva married Lord Parvati. Similarly, the wedding between the couple Lord Muruga with Devasena also occurred on this day. There are significant sources in Tamil Literature, which says that the union between Lord Ranaganathar and the Poet Andal happened on this day. This day is also highly significant as the marriage between Lord Rama and Goddess Sita took place today. Lord Brahma married Goddess Saraswati, Moon wedded the twenty-seven stars, Lord Indra married Indrani and even saint Agastya married Lobhamudra after successfully completing the Kalyana Vrata. Therefore, this day is a special day for enormous celestial weddings to happen.
Lord Ayyappa and Panguni Uthiram
Ayyappa Jayanthi falls on Panguni Uthiram. Lord Ayyappa is the son of the son of Shiva and Mohini. He is also called Hariharasudan, meaning the son of Shiva and Vishnu. Lord Ayyappa was adopted by Pandalam Kindom of Kerala, as they were childless, and found the baby in the forest. He was born to destroy the evil shape-shifting Buffalo demoness Mahishasuri, upon the divine grace of Lord Ayappa, she is now worshipped as Maalikapurathamman. All Ayappa temples across the world celebrate Ayappa Jayanthi in a grand manner. Special prayers, rituals, chanting of divine texts by the devotees along with grand worship are performed to invoke the divine grace of Lord Ayyappa.
The mythology behind Panguni Uthiram
Panguni Uthiram is highly significant and connected to Lord Muruga in Tamil Nadu. It is believed that this is the day when he married Devasena. She is the daughter of Indra, the king of Devas. She is also called as Devasena in North India and was raised by Indra’s white elephant, named as Iravat. This day is a special day at all the Muruga temples.
Jayantipura Mahatmya is a revered text, which signifies the divine marriage between Lord Muruga and his consorts Valli and Devasena. Similarly, there are several versions of the story about marriage. The Skanda Purana refers to the story as both Devasena and Valli are destined to marry Lord Muruga where they are raised as sisters in the names of Amrithavalli and Sundaravalli, and later lives as Devasena and Valli, post their adoption. The first daughter is adopted by Lord Indra and the second daughter is Tribal King. When Lord Muruga destroys the evil Rakshashas, or Demons, he was married to Deivani. Later, with the help of his brother, Lord Ganesha, Lord Muruga marries Valli and takes her to Thiruthani, where Lord Muruga appears with Valli on one side and Devasena on the other side.
Rituals of Panguni Uthiram
On this day the idols of the Gods are beautifully decorated with jewels and flowers. A special feast is cooked and offered as “prasadam”. The strict fast is observed all day. The prayers and special chant like Kandar Shashti Kavasam, Kanda Purana are widely read by the devotees. Various Kavadis are taken for the Lord to pay their tribute for the benevolence upon their lives. Kavadi is a small arc placed on a wooden log, on which the devotees carry various things like milk, rose water, flowers, honey to be offered to Lord Muruga. As a tribute to Lord Muruga, a lot of people pierce their body with needles, and tongue using “Vel”, which is Lord Muruga’s weapon. All the major temples of Lord Muruga will be flooded with his devotees.
The observers of Kalyana Vrata should wake up early in the morning and meditate Lord Shiva. The idols of the god should be well decorated and adorned with rich jewels, prasadam, and special flowers. The divine prasadam should be distributed in the temple to all the devotees. Many devotees observe fasting, and can eat fresh fruits, Payasam and can also consume fresh milk. Next day, the idol on which all the rituals were performed should be donated to another devotee of Lord Shiva.
Benefits of celebrating Panguni Uthiram