Aadi Maasam/Aadi Thiruvizha – Part II

Aadi maasam,Aadi,aadi thizhuvizha

On the day of the Paal Kudam, women assemble at a nearby temple (not the Amman temple but another one) with turmeric and kungumam smeared pots (sombu) filled with milk. After a brief puja at the temple which is sort of the Ready-Get-Set-Go, the women walk over (run rather) to the Amman temple where wooden barricades are put up to regulate the crowd. Policemen and police-women wait at the Amman temple bracing themselves for the “Om Sakthi-ParaSakthi” chanting women force. It is believed that if you pray for something and carry the paal kudam, whatever you pray for will happen before the next Paal kudam (within the next year). 

That’s my husband and that’s me behind him.

Aadi maasam,Aadi,aadi thizhuvizha

These paal kudam laden women are force to reckon with, they shove and pull in order to cut through the line. You’ll have to be strong and gutsy to get out of this crowd. When your turn comes, the milk from your pot is poured atop the Amman. After everybody’s milk has been poured, the Amman is washed, dressed up and adorned with jewels and a final puja is done.   

Aadi maasam,Aadi,aadi thizhuvizha


The day we offer Koozhu is the most tiring, absolutely back-breaking day of the year. The cooking and preparation starts around 6 or so in the morning and goes on almost non-stop till night time. By now you should know that moderation is not one of my family’s strong points. Largesse and extreme entertaining are. We don’t have as many people over as we used to in the olden days! If we were to invite the whole clan, I think I’d have to be hospitalized for a day or two. I haven’t seen the full crowd myself in my 4 years of marriage but I can just about imagine and just thinking about it makes my head spin. The day’s menu reads like a Muniyandi Vilas menu. Kazhuvattu Kuzhambu (dried fish curry), Meen Kuzhambu (Fish curry), Meen Varuval (Fish fry), Varutha Muttai (Fried hard-boiled eggs), Chicken Korma, Pepper Chicken thokku (Pepper chicken semi-gravy) are just the non-vegetarian side of the menu. There’s a slightly shorter vegetarian menu that includes Murunga keerai poriyal, Vegetarian mixed-vegetable kuzhambu, Ragi and Jaggery based kozhukattai, Rice, Rasam, Idli and Dosai.

Aadi maasam,Aadi,aadi thizhuvizha,koozhu


Koozhu and its accompaniments – Murunga Keerai poriyal, Kazhuvattu kuzhambu and varutha muttai are served mid-morning once at home and then again at the temple. Return home to have a quick bite and then continue the rest of the preparations. Serve lunch, clear, eat, clear. One more puja is done late in the afternoon with this full blown non-veg thali on banana leaves topped by a kozhukatti dough lamp. Then again head to the temple to make pongal in a mud pot on a traditional cow-dung fired stove and offer the pongal to Amman (I am usually excused out of this trip. I managed to get my daughter to finish her homework during that time). Return home, string flowers, prepare idlis and welcome drinks for guests and then arrange the seer varisai (gifts offered for Goddess Amman’s wedding) plates. 

Aadi maasam,Aadi,aadi thizhuvizha,koozhu




Aadi maasam,Aadi,aadi thizhuvizha,koozhu



Aadi maasam,Aadi,aadi thizhuvizha,koozhu,kazhuvadu kuzhambu




The seer varisai plates are usually odd numbered – 11, 13, 21 etc. How many do you think my family would choose? Yeah 21, of course. So one plate will be mangoes, another apples, cashews, honey, pattu pavadai (silk dress) and so on. Serve guests dinner. After a brief puja at home, the seer varisai plates are handed over to as many women (21) and they walk to the temple to the music of Melam and Nadhaswaram. At the temple, the seer varisai plates are offered to Amman, Amman is adorned with the Pattu pavadai and flowers and the maangalyam is finally tied. A huge force of young men (like Karthi’s workers in Aayirithal Oruvan), lift the decorated Goddess on to the huge decorated open-type palanquin amidst a lot of shouting, directing, swearing and cheering. Then the grand procession of the final day is started off by the Dharmakhartha (trustee) after honouring the sponsors and workers with flower garlands and Prasadam. 



Throw in two spectacularly mischievous kids and that’ll complete the picture. In between all this, I had to get my kids to eat, get dressed, undressed, away from the kuzhambu and koozhu, away from each other and other kids, eat, clean up, get dressed, un-dressed, do homework and then put them to sleep. My husband pitched in quite a bit yesterday with the kids, otherwise I think I would have just hid under the bed (running away is too much work).  

Part I of Aadi Maasam/Aadi Thizhuvizha

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