Raja Kopuram (main tower with sculptures) of Srimath Arunasaleswara Devasthanam in Mutwal

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Aadi Amavasai, a day sacred to obsequies for the manes. This special day is dedicated to our forefathers, which is observed annually during the Tamil month of July. The new moon in the Tamil month of Aadi is observed with special prayers, poojas and offering of food to the forefathers. Amavasai is a new moon begins its new cycle.

This year Aadi Amavasai was observed on August 12th 2007. Keerimala in Jaffna Peninsula is popular for Aadi Amavasai. A special vegetable called “Kaaththottikaai”, which got a bitter taste, is consumed on this special day. It’s specially sold on this day in Jaffna.

Hindus gathered in Crow Island, Colombo 15 to pray for their forefathers while carrying out religious rites. The religious rites were conducted by the Saiva Kurukkal (who carries out funeral rites of the Hindus) on the shore individually. Some worshippers offered vegetables and rice to the Saiva Kurukkal. The worshippers began to come to the sea at dawn to take a holy dip. They were given sesame seeds to throw into the sea. After taking a dip in the holy sea, they went to the temples to pray for their forefathers. The weather was gloomy. Ghee lamps were lit; manthras were chanted; bells began to toll. Motchcha Archcanais (which is performed for the dear departed loved ones) were performed for the souls to rest in peace. Devotees thronged the temples in thousands. Some worshippers offer tonsure on this day.

It’s also believed that, Chithra Pournami, which falls in April is dedicated to late mothers. And Aadi Amavasai, which falls in July is dedicated to late fathers. Young unmarried girls and married women usually do not take part in rites carried out on these days. Elderly women who have lost their husbands participate in the religious rites.