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Thiruvathira Ashamsakal

- Celebrated on 8th Jan 2012

Thiruvathira – the festival of the womenfolk in Kerala

While the city folks forsake their sleep for a night long of waltz, wine and dine, the womenfolk of the Kerala villages had a special reason to stay awake the whole night on the New Year eve. It was Thiruvathira, one of the most important festivals for the womenfolk of Kerala. Celebrated in the  Malayalam month of Dhanu, this time, it fell on a blue moon, which added up to its charm. It is celebrated in commemoration of the death of Kamadevan, representing the annihilation of the vices and the passionate thoughts by keeping the mind stable.  Kamadevan was burnt alive by the opening of the third eye of Lord Siva,one of the members of the Divine Trinity.

The festivities start very early in the morning  when every female member of the family takes bath in the pond and very often girls from the neighbourhood assemble to make it a group affair. After the elaborate bathing ritual comprising of singing and splashing of water, they deck themselves up in the traditional dresses, darken their eyes with home made kajal and chew betel leaves to redden their lips. Huge swings will be put up for the women to enjoy.

On Thiruvaathira, the women folk abstain from taking rice and for the lunch a delicious  arrow-root powder  porridge or fruits are served. The women spend the whole  night singing and dancing. Kaikottikkali is an exceptional dance form that is associated with this festival in which a group of women attired in traditional dresses dance in a circle around a lighted brass lamp.

At night, women eat eight different tubers roasted in the fire, which is known as Ettangadi chuduka’ . The night long music and dance is interspersed with a ceremony called Patirappoo choodal, after which, the dance and music continue till sunrise. The festivities conclude with an early morning bath and prayer at the nearby temple.