Aadi Perukku is a festival related to prosperity and fertility. It falls during Aadi Tamil month. The beginning of the monsoon season marks a season of abundance in nature and the lives of human beings. Aadi perukku is also called the Aadi monsoon festival. It is celebrated on the 18th day of Aadi month. In order to gain blessings like a good harvest, prosperity, etc., people worship Mother Nature represented by Amman deities during this time. It is a festival of thanksgiving for Nature’s blessings. Aadi month marks the onset of the monsoon in Tamil Nadu. It is a good month for farming activities like rooting, sowing, and planting seeds. Also, the perennial rivers and lakes of Tamil Nadu are worshipped. These are equated with river goddesses. The Kaveri river especially plays an important role in the celebrations. Aadi Perukku is also known as ‘Pathinettam Perukku.’ ‘Pathinettu’ means ‘eighteen’ and ‘Perukku’ means ‘rising.’ Many rituals are observed by the womenfolks. Aadi Perukku 2021 is on August 2.
Celebrations and Rituals
The first day of Aadi month is observed as Aadi Pandigai or Aadi Pirappu. It is an important festival, more so for newly-weds. Large ‘kolams’ are drawn in front of the houses early in the morning. They are often bordered with red ‘Kavi.’ Mango leaves adorn the front doorway. After a special Pooja, there is a feast featuring ‘payasam’ made using coconut milk, and Vadai. Aadi is a month dedicated to worship. Natural elements like water are worshipped. The eighteenth day of Aadi is ‘Aadi Perukku’. It is a day for making offerings and rendering prayers to water bodies like the rivers, which create life and abundance. People believe that if young girls perform Pooja offering Kadholai (earring), Karugamani (small black bangle), and Kaapparisi (a sweet made using rice and jaggery), they will be blessed with good husbands. Entire families picnic by the river, eating a variety of rice dishes like Puliyodharai, coconut rice, lemon rice, etc. A major attraction is the singing of Adiperukku folk songs. Aadi Perukku is an ideal time to worship Goddess Lakshmi, along with her consort, Lord Vishnu, and the god of wealth, Lord Kubera.
On Aadi Perukku day, women revere Goddess Parvati. A variety of rice dishes like sweet Pongal, coconut rice, curd rice, lemon rice, Bahala rice, and tamarind rice are prepared as offerings for the Goddess. The holy river Kaveri is also worshipped with rice offerings, flowers, and Akshata. On this occasion, prayers are offered for a good harvest. Devotees take a dip in the holy water and wear new garments before performing the Aadi Perukku rituals at the bathing ghats. It is then followed by ‘abishekham’ for Kaveri Amman. A Maavilakku (a lamp made with jaggery and rice flour) is made and placed on some mango leaves. A yellow thread, some turmeric, and flowers are also added. Women light the lamp, which is then floated on the river. A special rice dish called ‘Kalandha Saddam’ is also prepared. After the Pooja is over, people partake of the rice dishes on the river banks with their families.
Unmarried girls, too, perform Pooja and rituals along with married women. They offer a sweet made of rice and jaggery, earrings made of palm leaves, and black colored beads so that they will be with good grooms. People invite their son-in-laws and give them gifts of new clothes. Married women go to their parents’ home at this time and stay there for a month before the day of Aadi Perukku. They also return back with their husband on the day after Aadi Perukku.
Significance of Aadi Perukku
Aadi month is meant for the worship of water bodies and Mother Nature. During this month, prayers are offered to the Goddesses in thanksgiving and also seeking protection from Nature’s fury, as during this time, there may be flooding and cyclones. Supposedly, Adi month is very auspicious for connecting with the Divine power. Aadi Perukku festival is an ancient festival that has been observed and celebrated for many centuries. It enjoyed royal patronage in ancient times.