Festivals

Karadaiyaan Nombu | Origin and Significance

Karadaiyaan Nombu also known as ‘Savitri Nombu Vritham’ is an important festival for the married women in the state of Tamil Nadu. On this day, women offer prayers for the longevity and well-being of their husbands. Karadai is the name of a unique Nivedyam prepared on this day and Nombu means Vratham or Upavasam.

The History of Karadaiyan Nombu:

To know the practice of Karadaiyan Nombu, we should learn the story of Satyavan and Savitri. Long long ago, King Asvapati ruled the Madra Kingdom along with his consort Malavi. The king is devotee of Sun God Savitr and lived ascetically. He is childless and wished for a child to save his lineage. Savitr blessed him with a girl child for his devotion and the girl was named Savitri to honour the Savitr.

Savitri was so beautiful and her pure thejas intimidated all the men. When the reached the age to marry, men were fearful to ask her for marriage. Based on her father’s words she sets out on a pilgrimage to find her groom. During the quest, she meets Satyavan, son of Blind King Dyumatsena of Salwa Kingdom. He lived in exile after losing everything.

Savitri returns to her home to find that Sage Narada communicating her father about the destiny of Satyavan. They try to convince Savitri to change her choice as Satyavan’s destiny is to die one year from that day. But Savitri insists on her choice and they reluctantly accept her choice.

After Marriage both goes to live in the forest and Savitri transform herself into a hermit suiting to the life of her husband and in-laws. Three days prior to the destined day of death of Satyavan, Savitri takes a vow of fasting and vigil. Although her in-laws suggest that she’s taking too hard of herself, she insists that she has taken an oath to perform them. So Dyumatsena offers his support for the same.

On the D-Day Savitri requests her in-laws that she accompanies Satyavan to the forest. They comply with her request as she never has asked anything so far during the entire time spent. They both go to the forest while cutting the woods Satyavan suddenly became weak and lays his head in her lap. Lord Yama, comes to claim the soul of Satyavan. Savitri follows Yama. Yama tries his best to convince her but all goes in vain with her counter argument on wisdom. First, she praises obedience to Dharma, then friendship with the strict, then Yama himself for his just rule, then Yama as King of Dharma, and finally noble conduct with no expectation of return.

Impressed by her wisdom and approach, Yama offers her any boon wishes except the life of Satyavan. She initially asks for the eyesight, Kingdom restoration for her father-in-law, then 100 children for her father followed by 100 children for herself and Satyavan. The final wish creates a conflict of interest as it would indirectly give the life back to Satyavan. But due to her dedication and purity, he again offers a boon to ask apart from the life of Satyavan. Savitri just asks the Satyavan to return to life and in a jiffy grants life to Satyavan and blessed both with eternal happiness.

Satyavan awakens from a deep sleep returns to his parents with Savitri. Dyumatsena regains his eyesight before their return. Savitri then conveys the story to her in-laws and the puzzled Satyavan. In the mean time, Dyumatsena’s ministers arrive with the news of the death of his usurper and they lived happily ever after.

It is believed that this event happened on the first day of Panguni month. And hence this day is celebrated as the Karadaiyaan Nombu in Tamil Nadu. On this day the married women and Young girls wear Yellow threads and pray to Goddess Gowri for long lives for their husbands. Young and unmarried women practice this in order to find a good husband in the future.

WHEN?

Karadaiyan Nombu is observed on a chosen day when the transition takes place between two Tamil months, namely, Panguni and Massi. It is observed at the exact time when the Tamil month of Massi ends and the month of Panguni begins. In the Gregorian calendar, this festival falls in the month of March. 

HOW?

  • Fasting or vratam is an important ritual on the day of Karadaiyan Nombu. Married women observe a fast from the time of getting up. The fast is broken after completing the puja rituals. Women break their vratam by eating the unique Karadai preparation with butter. 
  • On Karadaiyan Nombu a special naivedya is prepared and is known as ‘Karadai – Nombu Adai’. As per the mythological stories, it is stated that Savitri prepared this special dish and offered it with unmelted butter to Lord Yama, the Hindu God of Death, as a thanksgiving gesture for returning the life of her husband, Satyavan.
  • Women on this day worship Goddess Gowri and offer the Karadaiyan Nombu Naivedyam to please the Goddess. Special mantras are chanted at the time of offering the Karadai to Goddess Gowri.
  • Another significant ritual on Karadaiyan Nombu is wearing the yellow coloured thread, referred as ‘Karadai Nombu Saradu’ around the neck. A small flower is also tied to this yellow thread. This thread is tied for the well-being of husbands

 

References:

  • Wikipedia
  • TamilBrahmins forum
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