Karadaiyan Nombu or Savitri Nonbu Vritham is a festival observed mostly by the Tamil Brahmins, in which married women pray so that their husband stays blessed in all spheres of life at all times.
Karadaiyan Nombu or the Savitri Nonbu Vritham is a vow or a pledge which is observed on the last day of the Maasi Masam or the Maasi month according to traditional Tamil calendar. This day corresponds with the month of March according to the Gregorian calendar.
This festival also marks the transit of Sun from Kumbha Rasi to Meena Rasi or the Meena Sankramanam. This festival is somewhat of similar nature to Vat Savitri or Shivaratri celebrated in the Northern part of India, where women seek the blessings for the health of their husbands and marital bliss and unmarried girls aspire for a good husband.
- Legend behind the vrat –
Savithri, the daughter of King Asrapathi married Satyavan, a commoner who lived in the forest. Satyavan was fated to live for only a year, but in spite of that Savitri married him as she was deeply pleased by Satyavan’s devotion towards his blind parents. Despite her father, the king’s opposition, finally Savitri and Satyavan got married and they lived happily for one year. At the end of the one ear, Savitri realized that Satyavan would die any day and any moment. To avert this, she kept a vrat and fasted. She used to offer Durwa grass and peepal leaves. She used to prepare Prasad or neivedhyam with wild rice and toor dal. This is also known as the kaara arisi and thuvaram parrupu, and that is the reason why this ceremony is called the karadayan nonbu.
On the very next day, Satyavan fell down on the forest and upon realizing that he was dying, Savitri noticed Yama, the God of Death carrying Satyavan’s soul along with him. Savitri kept following Yama, and Yama tried to divert her, but Savitri was extremely persistent. Intrigued Yama offered her three boons as he could not return a departed soul to his body. Savitri readily agreed and as the first boon asked for a son for her father. As a second boon she requested that her in laws be reinstated in their own kingdom and in the third boon she said that she will like to have children. Yama, granted And immediately realized that he had been befuddled by Savitri. Yama appreciated Savitri’s persistence and also respected the fact that she was ready to marry a man who she knew was about to die. Thus this Karadaiyan Nombu saved Savitri’s husband. It is also believed that Savitri cooked this dish and offered it to Lord Yama along with un-melted butter to denote her gratitude for re living her husband. It is a kind of expressing thanks for saving her husband’s life.
- Preparation of the Puja
The puja for the Karadaiyan Nombu is the exact time when the Maasi month ends and the panguni month begins. The fast that is kept can be broken only on two times, mornings or evenings. The Kaardai, which is a Yellow thread tied with few flowers and the Karadai Adai dish, that is the naivedyam or offering are to be kept ready. Decorate the house with mango leaves and draw the kolam. Place the idol or photograph of Goddess Parvati or Kamakshi. Have a cleansing bath and prepare the kaardai sand the naivedyam. Before the exact time of the transition, place a banana leaf on the kolam or the puja area and place the naivedyam on that leaf. Betel leaf, betel nut, fruits, coconut, banana and butter are the other things which are needed to be kept on that leaf. Offer the Naivedyam to the Goddess by ringing the bell or doing an arati. Chant the Savitri Nombu chant, as follows –
Throram Krishhnami subhake saharitham
Dharami aham bharthu
Ayushya Sidhartham supreethabhava sarvadha
Now, wear the Kaardai or the yellow thread braided with flowers around the neck. Offer prayers, and once the fast is broken eat the Karadai Adai and distribute the rest of the Karadai adai as Prasad.
As we can see, Karadaiyan Nombu vrat is somewhat similar to that of the Vat savitri observed in Bengal or the sowbagya Gouri vratam or Gauri Tritiya vratam of Andhra Pradesh or the Gangaur vrat of Rajasthan, the Jyesta gouri Vrat of Maharashtra or the Jitiya Puja of Bihar, or the Karva Chauth of the North Indian states. Through this Vrat, a woman seeks divine blessings that she be blessed with an understanding and loving husband. Married women seek a long and healthy life for their husbands and unmarried women seek a good husband to be with them till the next seven births, by invoking the Gowri Devi, the goddess.