It has been some time since I posted. During this time, I went on a very satisfying pilgrimage to Sabarimala and have been busy since my return. Before I realised it, we were on the threshold of August, which is a month full of festivals after a lean period of a couple months. Since details of the Sabarimala trip will take longer to post, here are the important dates for the month of August 2009.
5th August 2009 - Aavani Avittam or Yajur Upakarma
Yajur Upakarma is a very important festival in the Hindu calendar. Though only the menfolk observe the rituals, it is equally important for the whole family. Tradtionally the rituals start early in the morning with recital of Kamokarshit japa followed by Yagnopaveetha dharanam and Kandarishi tharpanam. After this is the Vedarambham.
The rituals are as always followed by a sumptuous lunch with payasam and vadai. Many dishes like Morkoottan or Parikkai pitla or Aviyal, thoran, pachadi, erissery are prepared for the lunch.
6th August 2009 - Gayathri japam
Again the rituals are only for the menfolk. The men have to recite the gayatri mantra 1008 times in the morning.
13th August 2009 - Gokulashtami or Ashtami Rohini or Janmashtami
Gokulashtami is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Krishna. There are many people who observe a fast on this day until midnight, which is supposed to be the time of Krishna’s birth.
The main neyvedyams for Gokulashtami are Cheedais, Neyyappam, Sweet Avil, Palpayasam and Butter.
23rd August 2009 - Ganesh Chaturthi and Sama Upakarma
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The festival is celebrated differently in different parts of India. Among the Tamil Iyers it is celebrated by offering pooja to Lord Ganesha and offering Kozhukkattai, Neyyappam and Payasam as neyvedyams. Though it is not a custom among Kerala Iyers, many families install an idol of Lord Ganesha and do pooja and immerse the idol in a lake or river or sea on the 3rd or 5th day after Chathurthi.
The Upakarma or Avani Avittam for Samavedis is also celebrated on this day, though the Gayathri Japam is done along with Yajurvedis on the 6th August.