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Thiruvathira festival - celebrated as the birthday of Lord Shiva

The Thiruvathira Festival falls due in the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December,January ).This year's Thiruvathira is on January,13th,Friday.2006.The people of Kerala celebrate this festival with great Joy and respect.The Festival is connected with Lord Shiva.The Ardradarshan celebrated in Tamilnadu and a few parts of karnataka corresponds to Thiruvathira of Kerala.It is considered to worship Lord Shiva ,and the devotees go early morning to temples.There is some celebrations at our homes also.

Tradition has it that Thiruvathira festival is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Shiva.Another story is connected with the death of kamadeva the mythological God of Love from the angry  look of Lord Shiva from his "Thrikkannu". 

In Kerala the festival Thiruvathira is most important among Nair and Nampoothiri families,especially celebrated by their women.They wake up early in the day and after bath they sing Thiruvathira songs mostly related to Lord Shiva.In conclusion they Stand in a circle and making dance also.The first Thiruvathira coming after the marriage among the above casts ,known as  "poothiruvathira" and they celebrate the same in a grand manner.  

Thiruvathira exclusively for Womenfolk,for which we cannot see any where outside in indian society.At Night time Women perform Thiruvathirakali or Kaikottykali.They stand in a circle around a lighted lamp and dance each step at the rythem of the songs they sing by clapping their hands.There is a custom called "Pathirappochoodal"means wearing flowers at midnight.Oonjalattam is also an important item on this Occassion.

In Tamilnadu,Ardradarshanam,is celebrated similar to Thiruvathira in Kerala.Chidambaram in Tamilnadu is one of the most celebrated Shrines in the world.It is of Great religious  as well as Historic and Cultural Significance.Chidambaram is associated with Lord Shiva,(Mostly known as Nataraja in his "Ananda Natana Pose" ).The temple works is done by "Manikkavachakar",and is in full praise of Shiva at Chidambaram.Chidambaram  is one of the ancient temples of Tamilnadu. Shiva is said to have revealed a vision of his Dance ( Nataraja Nrutham)here in front of his devotees and to all Deva's   here.It is in the Thiruvathira day ,Shiva appeared in front of "Nandanar" who was a great devotee of Shiva and gave him Mokshaprapthi.Nandanar was ,Scheduled tribe in his caste,and have restrictions to enter in the temples at that period.So he stood always outside the temple and made his prayers.Due to his faith in Lord Shiva,he got darshan and blessings.It's history. 

K.Ananda Ram,
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