In India the rivers Ganges and Yamuna, Cauvery and Godavari are considered sacred. Just like the earth gives us food, water is considered as a sacred necessity to meet the needs of individuals. People began to worship water in the form of wells, tanks and rivers. When the rivers are in spate purely based on the belief that these rivers are the species of female deities. Similarly every temple has sacred wells and tanks, and water in these resources is considered pure. There are Hindu mythologies that highlight many variations on the theme of primeval water which shows that water culture and civilization represent human interest with sacredness. In the Tamil month of Aadi, it is time for arrival of fresh water in the river Cauvery that meanders through Cauvery delta. Otherwise called as "Pathinettam Peru", Aadi Perukku is celebrated normally on the eighteenth day of the Tamil month of Aadi. Aadi is the month for sowing, rooting, planting of seeds and vegetation since it is peak monsoon time when rain is showered in abundance
This year the festival falls on August 2nd, 2008 . Hundreds of devotees, including newlywed couples, celebrate the `Aadi Perukku' festival by offering worship on the banks of the Rivers. The festival name translates as Adi (month) swell or 18th day swell because the waters of the Kaveri river invariably rise dramatically, often to the 18th step on the 18th day of the month of Adi, corresponding with the second or third of August every year. Perukku’ means rising – indicating the rising water in rivers. The festival is essentially a form of nature worship. Special food is prepared on this day and family and friends get together and pray for uninterrupted supply of water and a good harvest..
The river runs swiftly today. The water seems to be overflowing the banks. It is but natural. The increased water levels directly correlate with economic prosperity. This occasion is marked by offerings of chitrannam or rice cooked in different flavours,colours and ingre-dients to honour the river goddess and nature for life giving water. Goddess Kaveri is supposed to be in the third month of her pregnancy and like all pregnant women, she has a craving for delicacies. The baskets are laden with food which will be offered to the goddess as treats. There’s lime rice, tamarind rice, coconut rice, curd rice, sweet jaggery rice, appam, fried karudams, appalams and pickles.
The increased abundance of water makes this an auspicious day; Adi Perukku is celebrated as fertility and reproduction predominantly by women in Tamil Nadu. Families often bathe in the river, wetting the head (snanam), wear new clothes and perform a consecration (abhishekam) for Kaveri amman. They give visitors auspicious turmeric, kumkum, betel leaves and nuts (vetrilai pakku), fruits and flowers. Some use the day as an excuse to buy jewellery. After the women have performed the puja, families eat at home and rest
As a native ofTirunelveli, I still remember how we enjoy this festival. On the festival day we used to wake up early, prepare all the kalanda saadams(variety Of rices), with some sweet, since schools will be given holiday, we all will play in the morning and when evening comes, we pack off all the kalanda sadam, fried papads and will go to coutrallam (surrounded bywaterfalls) for a picnic, have a great time there watching the water from the falls, and the small streams playing till we get tired and after that we will have our food which will be extermely delicious. Men in their white veshtis greet each other and exchange pleasantries. In their beautiful new saris and lovely jewellery, the women form groups and chatter. Fragrant flowers adorn their hair. Most of them are carrying baskets packed with food items. Young girls in silk or satin pavadai skirts compare notes. Unmindful of their new clothes, boys indulge in spinning tops on the dusty track.
Also people will float ahal vilakku (Mud lamps with cotton wicks and til oil) in t water. A belief is there that if the vilakku stays lit for a long time all our dreams will get fulfilled. Newly married couple will change their sacred thread (thali kayuru) with a new oneThe whole of mandapam will be flooded with people.Nowadays we all live in flats and do not have the time to celebrate like this. Atleast still we are having the same menu of kalanda saadam on this 18th day of aadi month.
Though we do not live in the river banks any more, we can still organise a picnic on a holiday around this time to celebrate the prosperity brought by the rains.