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COVER STORY—அன்றும் இன்றும் ON NAGARATHAR GATHERINGS (RETREATS)


சியன் ஆனமும் திருநால் ணியும் சிப்புத்தான் யநாப் புதிக்கியும் ஆக்கியும் பநபார் யிலும் ல் தயநாம் இததத் தபணினில் ஓங்கவும் தாங்கும் அகத்து உயநா பசாமீசர் தசனங்தகாண்டார் ாதம் துதிக்குதுபந.


T


hose are the words of Paduvar Muthappa Chettiar


Community‘s Spirituality


Philanthropy. The underlying meaning of this above Venpa (short-verse) blesses our community to continue the religious and spiritual work with togetherness and involvement in unifying people. This is indeed achieved via numerous gatherings and festivals that are unique to our community as well as the common Hindu festivals. Our lifestyle reflects the amalgamation of both the age-old traditions and the modern transformations. The spiritual beliefs of our people can be seen through various temples of Chettinad and including our 9 temples. It‘s no surprise that our social gatherings and festivities are more towards religion and spirituality as our community has always had strong spiritual beliefs than any other. The numerous festivals and rituals of Nagarathar strengthen the bond among the native inhabitants. People of a clan temple or a family gather from far and wide to participate in the festivals.


As with everything else, the trend of leaving our ancestral homes for economic growth has changed how our social gatherings happen in the recent times. Apart from the majestic celebrations of our marriage ceremony (which was covered in detail in our earlier NANAL issues), there are quite a few social gatherings and festivals that are both spiritual and non- spiritual in nature. Abiding by NANAL‘s tradition, this article tries to document the transformation of our social gatherings and festivals in time.


about our What For we Socialized in and


by elango chidambaram


the past? Nagarathars believe festivals are the best way of social gathering – to meet and greet long seen extended family members or fellow nagarathars from the same village/ temple. These gatherings have always provided the environment for marriage proposals for youngsters and to some extent business proposals as well. In a way, these are the Chettiar ―golf-courses‖ for informal meetings and get-to-know families.


Our gatherings and festivals have always been either a particular village event or a temple/clan event where people from various villages but belonging to the same temple will oversee the function. Few exceptions to these social gatherings are the Marriages and the ―Veetu‖ Padaippu (Ancestral remembrance/blessing) – which are attended strictly by the immediate and extended families. Here is the list of social events/gatherings that our parents and grand, grandparents celebrated for centuries and are still practices in places where Nagarathar live.


 Padaippu / Poosai  Chithirai Thiruvizha  Pittukku Man Sumandhal  Maan Ambu  Maasi Magam  Thai Poosam  Pradosham  Pothu/Kovil Padaippu  Pillayar Nonbu  Deepavali/Pongal Festivals  Retreats


6 September 2011


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