Before continuing with my Kanu descriptions, I need to take a time out to list the festivals we observe in the month of February. Well this is half Thai and half Maasi ( the Tamil months) or half Makaram and half Kumbham (Malayalam months). Not many festivals during this period although Kerala comes alive with the temple festivals of Poorams and Velais. The Poorams start after the harvesting seasons, one of the main reasons being that the Ezhunnellippu (procession of caparisoned elephants) is done mostly in the fields after the harvest.
8th February 2009 - Thai Poosam
A festival celebrated in the Muruga temples all over the world. As with other festivals, there are various legends associated with this festival too. According to popular legend, it is the day Lord Muruga destroyed the demon King Tharakasura. We used to observe the festival at home by offering some neyvedyam like Vella payar or Panakam to Lord Muruga. The more important ritual is to take a coconut to the tank or stream where one takes bath and breaking the coconut at the side of the stream after the bath and offering it to Lord Muruga there itself. I am not able to find a convincing reason for this ritual. Usually neyvedyams are offered at the temples or at homes; what is the significance of offering the neyvedyam at the bathing ghat? If any of the readers knows the answer, please enlighten me.
23rd February 2009 - Mahashivarathri
One cannot call Mahashivarathri a festival in the real sense of the word. I would rather call it day of meditation and fasting and getting rejuvenated mentally as well as physically. Most people observe a fast on this day with a jagaran (keeping awake) for 36 hours. That is starting from daybreak on Mahashivarathri day until night falls the next day. Different people observe the fast differently. The full fast is observed by not taking any food till sunset. After offering Pooja and Argya to Lord Shiva after sunset, light saltless refreshments (Vella dosa, Parippukanji, fruits, etc.) are partaken. People who cannot fast the whole day, take some light refreshments once during the day and once in the night.