One of the most significant festivals of Tamil Nadu, Aadi Krithigai is the celebration of the powers of Lord Murugan. Devotees offer their prayers with special pujas, yagnas and participating in the chariot processions of Murugan in the hopes of aligning goodness and prosperity with their lives.
Aadi Krithigai or Aadi Karthigai, as it is sometimes pronounced, is one of the most important festivals of the Tamil calendar. Celebrated at the end of July or beginning of August, or in the middle of the Aadi month of Tamil calendar on the day of Krittika star, this festival is dedicated to Lord Muruga, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Thousands of devotees gather in the Arupadai Veedu - the six abodes of Lord Murugan in Tamil Nadu, which are located at Thiruthani, Swamimalai, Palani, Pazhamudircholai, Thirupparankunram, and Thiruchendur. Skanda Purana says that these are the six places where Murugan had his camps while fighting the war against the demon Soorapadman here, which was his first feat. The many other small Murugan temples are crowded during this festival as well.
Dates of Aadi Krithigai Festival
In 2020, the Aadi Krithigai Festival will begin at 04:43 PM on 15 July and will end on at 06:52 PM on 16 July.
Venue of Aadi Krithigai Festival
The festival is celebrated with much enthusiasm all over Tamil Nadu in all the temples of Murugan, Karthikeya or Shanmugha. But the unique venues are the Six Abodes of Murugan at Thiruthani, Swamimalai, Palani, Pazhamudircholai, Thirupparankunram, and Thiruchendur, together called the Arupadai Veedu.
Entry Fee at the Festival
There is no entry fee to the temples for the festival. Everyone is free to come and offer their prayers at the various temples of Lord Murugan on this auspicious occasion.
About the Aadi Krithigai Festival
The festival is a tribute to the birth story of Lord Murugan as per Skanda Purana. Being raised by six women who represent 6 Krittika stars, the day of Krittika as per the Tamil lunar calendar is rightfully marked as the day to celebrate the powers of Karthikeya.
Events at the Aadi Krithigai Festival
Aadi Krithigai festival being a religious one, mostly includes paying homages to Lord Murugan. Devotees throng the temples, keeping fasts, and stand in queues to do so. In the six main temples, chants of mantra can be heard all day long. The fire of yagna keeps flickering all along. Sometimes there is a traditional dance performed, called Kavadiyattam. There are chariot processions as well, where Murugan is taken out on a chariot, decorated with grandeur and pulled by devoted worshippers.
History of Aadi Krithigai Festival
To origin of Aadi Krithigai Festival is rooted in Lord Muruga’s birth story as described in the Skanda Purana. According to that legend, Lord Muruga took birth from the accumulated power of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva’s third eye. But the spark of fire that was created was so immense that Agni Dev (God of Fire) himself could not bear it. While carrying it to the Vindhyas, he dropped the heat in a water body that was later named Saravana Pogai in Skanda Purana. Upon falling into the water, the ball of fiery energy broke down into six sparks, each turning into a beautiful baby boy.
Upon knowing the circumstances, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati arrived and summoned the six Krittika stars from the sky. They came down as six young women, and Parvati blessed them with one child each to nurse and care for. It is believed that later they all became one to form Karthikeya avatar, a moniker taken from his Krittika-parentage. This is also why in many temples of South India, the statue of Lord Murugan or Lord Karthikeya has six heads.
The significance of Aadi Krithigai
Being the month that marks Dakshinayan or the southwards journey of the sun, Aadi is full of lots of auspicious events and occasions. This particular day is ruled by Krittika Nakshatra, which is the stellar representation of Lord Muruga. Thus, the Aadi Krithigai Festival is about celebrating the endless powers of Lord Muruga with lots of celebrations and fervor. This particular day is considered to be highly auspicious, as divine forces listen to the prayers of their devotees and bestow them with blessings and enhance their lives. Devotees believe that offering puja to Lord Murugan on this sacred day would bring about goodness in their lives, especially in six specific aspects - wisdom, power, health, victory, relationships, and prosperity.