Chithirai festival: Significance, rituals and how to watch celestial wedding of Madurai Meenakshi online | Culture News

Chithirai festival: Significance, rituals and how to watch celestial wedding of Madurai Meenakshi online

New Delhi: For the first time perhaps, the auspicious Chithirai festival in Madurai has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. It is celebrated every year on the Full moon day of the Tamil Month Chithirai, that falls between April-May. The rituals happen at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple with much fervour and a huge crowd gathers to watch the celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi Amman with Lord Sundareswara (Lord Shiva). It is believed that Lord Vishnu, as Alagar, rode on a golden horse to Madurai to attend the celestial wedding, also called Thirukalyanam.

As the event stands cancelled, it has been decided to live-stream the rituals for the devotees on the temple’s official website. Other ceremonies related to the festival – like the processions, coronation have also been cancelled. As per reports, four preists will perform the main puja, which otherwise takes place in a grand manner.

The celestial wedding is part of the two-week-long Chithirai festival. It also marks the celebrations of the coronation of Goddess Meenakshi and also celebrates of the Journey of Lord Alagar from Kallazhagar temple in Alagar Koyil to Madurai.

There are a handful of events which take place during the Chithirai festival, some of which are as follows:

Kodi Yetram: The chief priest of Meenakshi temple hoists the holy flag on the Dwajasthambam.

Pattabisekam: The coronation ceremony in which Goddess Meenakshi is crowned as the queen of Madurai for four months and after that, her husband Lord Sunderaswarar will be crowned as the king of Madurai for the next eight months.

Dikvijayam: After the coronation, Goddess Meenakshi is believed to have went for war and conquered the whole world and she went to Kailash to conquer it. However, when she saw Lord Shiva there, she fell in love with him and married him.

Meenakshi Kalyanam: The wedding celebration of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Shiva in Madurai.

Chariot Festival: It is performed the day after the celestial wedding. Lord Sunderaswara and Meenakshi come to see their subjects in a well decorated chariot.

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