Panguni Uthiram, also known as Paiguni Uttaram or Meena Uttara Phalguni, is one of the most famous and important festivals to Tamil Hindus. One of the most popular, Tamilnadu festival or Tamil Festival, Panguni Uthiram falls on the day, the moon transits in the asterism Uttara-Phalguni or Uthiram in the twelfth month of the Tamil solar calendar, that is Panguni (March - April). As stated in the Brahmanda Puranam, on Panguni Uthiram, every holy water joins Thumburu teertha, which is one of seven sacred tanks in Tirupati Tirumala. This year, Panguni Uthiram is celebrated on 2016 March 23, Wednesday.
Significance of Panguni Uthiram Festival
According to legends, celestial weddings take place on this day and so Panguni Uthiram is called as the Full Moon of Divine Marriages. The day signifies the marriage of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, Murugan and Teyvayanai, and Aandaal (also known as Kothai) and Rangamannar. According to Valmiki's Ramayana, it is on this day and star that Sita's marriage with Lord Rama was celebrated. Also, this day is said to be the birthday of Lord Ayyappan. It is also believed that on this day, Goddess Mahalakshmi incarnated on earth from the ocean of milk (after the ocean was churned by the Gods and the demons) and hence it is celebrated as Mahalakshmi Jayanti. It is on this day that Goddess Parvati in the form of Gowri married Lord Siva in Kanchipuram. Hence this day is also celebrated as the Gowri Kalyanam day.
Panguni Uthiram Festival Celebrations in Temples
Srivilliputhur in Virudhunagar district celebrates the celestial marriage of Goddess Andal in a grand manner. On this day, Goddess Ranganayaki meets Lord Sri Ranganathar at Srirangam. Panguni Uthiram festival is also of great importance to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala.
Panguni Uthiram in Muruga Temples
Large numbers of devotees throng to all Murugan temples during the Panguni Uthiram festival. Panguni Uthiram festival is celebrated for ten days at Tiru Avinankudi Temple which is situated at the foothills of Palani, the third abode of Lord Muruga. On each day, the procession idol of Muttukumara Swamy along with his consorts Valli and Teyvanai is taken in procession in the forenoon and again at night. Devotees fetch water from Cauvery River during Panguni month and bring it in Kavadis to pour on the Nava Bashana idol. Some even observe fast for 15 days to carry holy kaavadis. Carrying Pal Kudam and Padayatra (walk) to Lord Murugan Temples are also observed by the devotees. They chant hymns of Lord Muruga such as Thevaram, Thiruvasagam and Thirumurai parayanam and play percussion instruments in the temples.