Andal Jayanti- A Day Dedicated to Goddess Andal
Tamil month of Aadi, which corresponds to July-August in Gregorian calendar is considered very auspicious in South India, and many festivals are celebrated in this month. One of such festival is Andal Jayanti, also known as Aadi Pooram. The day is dedicated to an incarnation of LakshmiLakshmi
Lakshmi is a Hindu goddess who is regarded as the ultimate deity of wealth... named Andal, who is known for her deep devotion to Lord Ranganatha, an incarnation of Vishnu. The festival is majorly celebrated in Tamil Nadu and some parts of Kerala and Karnataka. The day is considered highly auspicious if it falls on a Friday.
A saint named Periyalwar of Srivilliputtur was a true devotee of Lakshmi, but he had no children. He prayed to the Goddess for a child and impressed by his devotion, Lakshmi herself incarnated as a child. Periyalwar was ploughing the field where he found the girl and accepted her as the gift of the Goddess. He named her as ‘Goda’, meaning the gift of Earth. Since childhood, she was determined to marry no one except Ranganatha. She prayed to him and was fully dedicated to this incarnation of Vishnu.
Periyalwar taught her to make garlands of flowers offer him to the God. But she developed a habit of wearing that garland first and then offering it to the God. She wanted to make sure that the garland looked good and was beautiful enough to be offered. Periyalwar once caught her doing so and scolded her for her mistake. The same night VishnuVishnu
Vishnu is one of the Supreme Gods of Hindus and is a part of Hindu Trinity,.. appeared in his dreams and told him that the garland that is first worn by his daughter can only be offered to him as Goda was an incarnation of Lakshmi.
Soon Goda reached her marriageable age of 15 years, and when her father asked her to choose a groom, she told him that she had already chosen one, and that was Ranganatha himself. Periyalwar got angry on such reply, but he was again visited by Vishnu in his dream and asked him to send Goda to Sri Ranganatha Temple (located in district Srirangam, Tamil Nadu). Vishnu also visited the priest of the temple in his dream and asked him to make preparations of marriage the next day.
Next morning as soon as Goda arrived at the temple, she was married to the Lord and was given the name ‘Aandal’, meaning one who rules over the Lord.
Andal- A poetess
Andal was so immensely in love with the Lord that she couldn’t stop praising him and expressing her love for him. At an early age, she wrote two volumes of poems, both in Tamil, which presents her brilliance in poetry and religious knowledge. The name of those two works of classical literature is Thiruppavai and Nachiyar Thirumozhi. The earlier one contains thirty verses in which she portrays herself as a cowherd girl, longing for KrishnaKrishna
It is described that there are three aspects of the Supreme that must.... The latter is a collection of 143 verses depicting her passionate yearning for her Lord.
Celebrations and Rituals
Temples that are dedicated to Vishnu and Lakshmi are decorated, and a large number of devotees come to pay their tribute. The couple is worshipped together and offered milk, fruits and flowers. The poems written by Andal are recited with dedication and people dance in joy. People who get married on this day are believed to have lifelong companionship and a happy married life. Parents also buy gold and gift it to their daughters on this day and welcome them in womanhood.
Some of the temples where the festival is celebrated with immense fervor are Madurai, Meenakshi Amman Temple, Melmaruvathur Adhiparasakthi Temple, Tirunelveli Temple, Vedaranyam Temple and Srivilliputtur Andal Temple (all the temples are located in Tamil Nadu).