South Indian Hindu Festivals and Traditions

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Item Code: IDH094
Author: Maithily Jagannathan
Publisher: Abhinav Publication
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 8170174155
Pages: 183(Color Illus :63, B & W Illus: 3, Line Illus : 39)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.6" X 5.7"
Weight 500 gm
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
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23 years in business
Book Description


About the Book

The book on Hindu customs and traditions puts together everyday beliefs, practices, observances, and etiquette of living a life enriched by thousands of years of living a life enriched by thousands of years of spiritual consciousness. Legend, history, philosophy, and folk-lore are intricately linked with customs and traditions. Hence the origin of festivals, and fasts is given through illustrations from the epics, Puranas, traditional. Folk-lore. These help to clarify prayers of fasts to deities, karmas or rituals associated with different stage of life, the physical and mental cleansing of life, the physical and mental cleansing of a pilgrim after an arduous pilgrimage, and the magnetic force extended by shrines and temples on millions of devotees throughout the world.

A large number of the festivals and fasts relate to the South of India, hence many common practice have been given, with additional information on local practices and customs.

Additional features are traditional festive recipes, puja offerings of prasadam, Slokas for special occasions, and rangoli designs.

The book will serve its purpose if younger generations, living at home or abroad, are able to nourish mental and psychological roots, and gain stature as individuals by living an enriched life. It is hoped that the book will help to arrange important family functions, and thus preserve social bonds.


About the Author

Maithily Jagannathan's earliest years were spent in Sitamarhi, Bihar. Her father R.L. Narasimham was a distinguished civilian of the Bihar and Orissa cadre of the I.C.S. He became the Chief Justice of Orissa, and subsequently of Bihar.

Maithily Jagannathan was educated in St. Joseph's convent, and Stewart School, Cuttack. She did her Master's degree from the Presidency C College, Madras. Keenly interested in customs, traditions, handicrafts, languages and dialects of India, she is fluent in many languages. She married S. Jagannathan, and has a son and three daughters.

During her service in All India Radio, Ministry of Commerce, and Ministry of Agriculture, in the Government of India, she traveled extensively throughout the country. Based on her own observations, and dialogues with a variety of people, she has continuously presented features, picture stories, and interviews in the media, on India's socio-cultural scenario and changing life-styles.

Her work in Development writing was recognised by Awards from the FAO for Best Development Journalism. She was also awarded by the India Association of Economic Writers.

Her observations during her travels, and fluency in languages helped her in collecting and compiling the contents of this book.



It Gives me a deep feeling of satisfaction to introduce this book on festivals and traditions of Southern India. The book presents everyday customs and practices, social etiquette for different occasions, and describes the celebration of important festivals round the year.

The book does not propose to be a complete manual of customs, but to guide the reader on the demarcated path, for practising a way of life which nourishes our psychological and spiritual needs, and effectively offsets the mechanical drabness of a monotonous daily routine.

It is true that none of our festivals are just festivals. Very often their origin is lost in the passage of time. There has been an evolution, transformation, even the grafting of new customs on ancient ones. Without going into philosophical depths, the book shows how at every stage of life, we can derive solace, confidence and strength, from our traditions.

The spiritual nourishment derived from a fast, the magnetic pull drawing millions of pilgrims each year to shrines and temples, the celebration of festivals marking the journey of life, the significance of social etiquette like obtaining the blessing of elders, remembering and praying to ancestors, and the practical purpose of growing and worshipping the tulsi (basil) plant outside the house are discussed.

Sections on the designing and drawing of traditional rangoli, and numerous delicious festive recipes are useful additions.



Festivals, fasts, pilgrimages, pujas are living symbols of the Hindu way of life. They open up the spiritual self, and help to fulfil our role in the family and in society. They give us guidelines at different stages in the journey of life. The ritual loses much of its positive powers if practised as a routine. By understanding both the mythological and philosophical basis of a custom we not only gain psychologically but also evolve spiritually from its practice.

This book is planned as a handbook for understanding and practising many customs, traditions, and festivals common to South Indian communities. No rigid rules are prescribed for practising rituals, but an effort has been made to answer some of the Whys and Hows which arise for each custom. Once the purpose is clear, a reader can adapt the ritual to his or her situation, and can organise puja for different occasions.

The book is divided into three sections. In the first section on the journey of the spiritual self, the influence of the zodiac, karmas Of rituals associated with stages of life, and important family celebrations, observances, fasts, and some common beliefs are described. The linking of an individual's life to stars and planets, and the associated pujas are given, along with the social etiquette for some occasions. Charts show the Rasis with corresponding months in the Tamil lunisolar calendar, Sanskrit lunar calendar, and Gregorian or European solar calendar. Names of days of the week in Tamil with Sanskrit and English equivalents are given. There is an annual calendar of months in Tamil which is largely followed by all the great temples of South India, with corresponding Sanskrit and European calendars.

In the second section there is a calendar of major festivals celebrated in Andhra Pradesh, Kamataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The calendar starts with New Year celebrations and concludes with the observation of Savitri vrata or Karadiyar nombu. For each festival, the astrological day and name of the month in the Tamil calendar is given. To know the actual date in the English calendar, the almanac (panchang) for the current year would have to be seen.

In the third section, traditional recipes are given.

At a time when the younger generation, particularly that living outside India is feeling distanced from traditional roots, it is hoped that this book will give authentic and relevant information on the traditional and spiritual aspects of life. To the extent the book fulfils this need it will have served its purpose.


Foreword   11
Introduction   13
Acknowledgements   15
Chapter 1 Zoodiac Signs, Ruling Planets and Rasis  
  27 constellations, their names in Tamil and corresponding European names, south Indian calendar of stars and associated rasis, comparative south Indian, north Indian and European calendar, significance of the Sun's journey-Uttarayanam and Dakshinayanam, Rahu kalam, the inauspicious time 19
Chapter 2 Stages in the Spiritual Journey  
  Karmas of life-Jatakarma, namakarma, cradle ceremony, Annaprasanam, Chuda karma, Akshara abhyasa, Upanayanam, Vivaham, Poochootal/Vilaikappu, Seemantham 31
Chapter 3 Celebrations and Observances  
  Sashtiabdapoorti, celebration of the 60th birthday; Sathabhisekam, celebration of the 80th birthday; Kanakabhisekam; celebrating the birth of a son's son; special observances-Sumangali prarthna; shraddha, the ceremonies and etiquette after death 41
Chapter 4 Fasts, Vratas and Beliefs  
  Prayers for days of the week, ekadashi fast, Hariutthan ekadashi, Satyanarayana vrata, pranava Om mantra, the mystic syllable; pancha-bhoota puja, invoking the five elements, common beliefs and practices 51
Chapter 5 Daily Puja in the Home  
  Ritual worship in puja, puja and prasadam, stages of puja in temples, stages of puja in the home, items for puja, preparation of prasadam, akshada, arati, panchamritam, Puja offerings and their significance, kolam the floor decoration 65
Chapter 1: Tamil New Year 75
Chapter 2 Chitra Purnima 79
Chapter 3 Ramanavami 81
Chapter 4 Hanumat Jayanti 85
Chapter 5 Varalakshmi Puja 87
Chapter 6 Mangala Gouri Vrata 89
Chapter 7 Tiru Onam 91
Chapter 8 Sravan Purnima (Avani avittam) 93
Chapter 9 Tiru Onam 107
Chapter 10 Sri Krishna Jayanti 101
Chapter 11 Gouri-Ganesh Puja 105
Chapter 12 Ganesh Chaturthi 107
Chapter 13 Navaratri 111
Chapter 14 Tala Kaveri Festival 117
Chapter 15 Deepawali 119
Chapter 16 Sabarimala Yatra 123
Chapter 17 Kartik Purnima 131
Chapter 18 Ardra Darshan 135
Chapter 19 Vaikuntha Ekadashi 137
Chapter 20 Makara Sankranti, Pongal 139
Chapter 21 Sivaratri 143
Chapter 22 Karadiyar Nombu 145
  Tamil New Year's Day Menu  
  Savoury red gram 149
  Buttermilk sambar 149
  Kosumbari 150
  Mango-margosa leaves sweet pachadi 151
  Amavadai 152
  Payasam 153
  Beaten rice payasam 154
  Sago payasam 154
  Semolina payasam 154
  Rice and Bengal gram payasam 155
  Green gram payasam 156
  Milk payasam 156
  Other New Year Recipes  
  Beaten rice uppuma 157
  Panakam 156
  Savoury gram/peas chundal 158
  New Year Recipes-Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka  
  New year Bewu Bella pachadi 159
  Ugadi pachadi 159
  Ugadi poli 160
  Recipes for Vishu, Kerala  
  Puttu 160
  Sweet puttu 160
  Olam 161
  Prathaman 162
  Tamarind ginger chatni 162
  Kalan 163
  Rice Dishes for Chitra Purnima  
  Tamarind rice (puliyodarai) 164
  Mysore tamarind rice 165
  Coconut rice 165
  Lemon rice 165
  Masala lemon rice 167
  Brinjal rice (vangi bhath) 167
  Sweet saffron rice (kesari bhath) 168
  Curd rice (dadhyodanam)  
  Recipes for Avani Avittam  
  Kozhakattai, sweet and savoury 171
  Puffed rice laddoo 174
  Til laddoo 174
  Sankranti, Bogi Recipes  
  Poli 175
  Black gram vadai 176
  Curd vadai 177
  Traditional Recipes for Special Pujas  
  Janmashtami specialties 178
  Murkku 178
  Salt seedai 179
  Sweet seedai 179
  Semolina pakora (kunnukku) 180
  Deepawali digestive halwa 180
  Ardra Darshan Prasadam  
  Tiruvadurai Kali 181
  Seven vegetables sambar 181
  Karadiyar Nombu Recipes  
  Salt ada 182
  Sweet ada 183


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