Andal Jayanthi is one of the major and most important festivals amongst the Tamilians. This festival is a dedication to Goddess Andal, who is a consort of Lord Vishnu and an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi.
Andal Jayanthi is also known as Aadi Pooram as it is celebrated in the month of Aadi according to traditional Tamil calendar, which is the month of July August as per the Gregorian calendar.
Andal Jayanthi is the birthday of the Goddess Andal and it is believed that she appeared on earth on this auspicious day and thus devotees on this day worship her to be blessed by Shakti.
Legend of Andal
Andal was a great poet and a saint. Born in the 10th century she resided in the southern state of India, Tamil Nadu. Since her childhood she was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and kept singing in his praise. Her literary works in Tamil called Thiruppavai and Nachiar Tirumozhi are both renowned for showing ardent love and devotion towards Lord Vishnu. The verses all sing praise of Vishnu and address him as her beloved. In fact so relentless and deep was her love and such consistent was her devotion towards Lord Vishnu, that she won a place next to Lord Vishnu as his consort. Andal herself due to her relentless devotion and love was elevated to the status of a Devi and numerous places in Tamil Nadu have shrines in her name. she is recognized as the reincarnation of the Goddess Bhudevi, who is the Vedic equivalent of what is known as the Earth goddess known as Gaia.
Andal’s birth star was Purva Falguni and it is associated with arts and pleasure and is capable of giving rise to tremendous dedication and devotion. Andal worshipped Ranganatha, who is the form of Vishnu in a reclining form and found her own life’s purpose in love and devotion.
Rituals of Andal Jayanthi
Aadi pooram or the Andal Jayanthi is a ten day festival which is observed with lot of devotion and fanfare. The last day is observed as the Jayanthi or the Aadi Pooram and an event is organized called Thirukalyanam, which is the wedding between Goddess Andal and Sri Ranganathaswamy, who is Lord Vishnu.
- On the morning of the Andal Jayanthi women wake early take a ritual bath and decorate their house beautifully with a kolam. As the Goddess Andal is known to be fond of the tred , alotus is kept for worshipping her.
- Goddess Andal idols in the temples arebeautified with bright red silk sarees, glittering jewelleries and garlands.
- An extensive feast is offered to the Goddess, where every household participates and contributes in the cooking.
- Special puja is conducted and the marriage ceremony is witnessed by thousands of devotees.
- After the puja an arati is done and then the Prasad is distributed amongst the devotees
- The disciples and devotees should also read Thiruppavai’ and ‘Lalitha Sahasranamam’ for further blessings.
The Andal Jayanthi is celebrated with great fanfare at Srivalliputtur in the Goddess Andal temple. This is the birth place of Andal. It is also celebrated with pomp and splendor in Srirangam Sri Ranganath Temple.
It is believed that if unmarried girls observe this vrat or ritual they will be very soon married to a good husband. If the vrat falls on a Friday it attains special significance.