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When it comes to taking a glimpse of the culture and traditions of South India, Tamil Nadu is one of those states in India which has been able to preserve its tradition till this date. India is the country with several cultures living together. Various colorful festivals are celebrated in different parts of Tamil Nadu throughout the year. Whenever one seeks to know about a particular state, the very essence of the culture can be found in the festivals of that state that bind everyone together. Tamil Nadu celebrates some unique festivals like balloon festival in Chennai and Pongal, which holds a very important place in the history of the state. Let us make you aware of some of the most important festivals of Tamil Nadu.

7 Best Festivals Of Tamil Nadu

These are some of the festivals of Tamil Nadu which showcases the vibrant culture of the state and reflects the year-old traditions. Keep scrolling down and read along to know more!

  • Pongal
  • Thiruvaiyaru Festival
  • Thaipusam
  • Natyanjali Dance Festival
  • Mahamaham
  • Tamil New Year’s Day
  • Karthigai Deepam

1. Pongal

Festival of Fire

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Celebrated for four simultaneous days, this festival is one of the most important festivals of Tamil Nadu. Pongal is the harvest festival in Tamil Nadu which is celebrated for 4 days. All the four days have their sort of importance as well as celebrations and rituals. The four days celebration of Pongal in Tamil Nadu starts with the day named Bhogi. Prayers to Lord Indra are made on this day. New things are bought. Old things are burnt in the bonfire. The next day, on Thai Pongal, people wear new clothes and couples make offerings of sugarcane and coconut into the river. Cows are highly decorated on the third day. Cows are worshipped. The last day of this harvest festival of Tamil Nadu, Kaanum Pongal, families take a visit to their relatives. Gifts are exchanged, and the festival ends on a happy note.

The Dish that they eat on this day is also called as Pongal. The first rice after harvest is boiled and served first to the Sun God and then to the people. Kolam, the rangoli or the pattern made by women at the entrances of their houses with colored rice and powder, starts to be made a month in advance. The whole month is very auspicious. This month is known as Margali.

Date: 14th – 17th January 2022

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2. Thiruvaiyaru Festival

Thiruvaiyaru Festival

Image Credit: Emmanuel DYAN for Wikimedia Commons

Thiruvaiyaru is a famous music festival that is celebrated in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. Saint Thyagaraja is a renowned music composer and this festival is dedicated to him. On Pushya Bahula Panchami day, Saint Thyagaraja attained Samadhi and so this festival is celebrated every year on this day. Every year in the month of January, a lot of composers come to Thanjavur for attending the festivities of this grand festival.

One of the most popular festivals of Tamil Nadu, Thanjavur promotes the Carnatic and classical music. This festival is also celebrated in Mauritius, USA, and Nigeria. All music lovers should attend this festival and witness the traditions and rituals performed near the Samadhi of Thyagaraja.

Date: 22nd January 2022

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3. Thaipusam

Celebrating Festival

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Thaipusam is celebrated on the full moon day of the Thai month in the Tamil Calendar in Tamil Nadu. The younger son of Lord Shiva was born on this day. His name is Lord Subramaniam. People take vows and keep them. They believe that if they would take vows in front of Lord Subramaniam, he would ensure that they keep their vows forever. The important ritual observed on this day is the sight of the Kavadi Bearer. They carry a Kavadi on their shoulder, which is a wooden stick with two pots attached at both ends of it. They wear dresses like that of a Pandaren. Pandaran is the people who live on alms alone. These devotees prefer to hold the pots empty at the beginning and fill them by asking and begging for alms.

This is the day of repentance and penance and the devotees feel more connected and close to God. They can be seen walking barefoot all over the streets towards the temple. They feel no pain and scars and try to get rid of the very idea of suffering that is just a relative thing. One interesting ritual that can be observed on this day is the Agni Kavadi. Devotees are barefooted with their pots on their shoulders and they are supposed to walk barefoot on the burning coal spread out on the ground.

Date: 18th January 2022

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4. Natyanjali Dance Festival

Enjoy Dance

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The festival of dances. Dance has been considered to be the greatest ways of connecting with their souls and thus in turn connecting with our Oversoul, the Lord. Dance has been a crucial part of Indian culture throughout the ages. Lord Siva has a form known as Nataraja. This festival is celebrated to offer tribute to Lord Nataraja who is believed to be the Lord of dances. He is the most powerful and the most loved God in the Hindu tradition. The Nataraja temple at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu is the place where one can observe this dance festival in its greatest form.

The meaning of the word Natya is Dance and the meaning of the word Anjali is Offering. The offering to the Lord through our dance performance is the basic idea of this festival. Almost 500 dancers from all over the country come to this place to give their offerings. The dances performed are the classical ones. Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, and more traditional and classical dances are observed. February and March are the two months in which this festival can be observed. The greatest festival of north India, Maha Shivaratri, marks the beginning of this four-day-long dance festival of Tamil Nadu. All the diverse cultures come to Tamil Nadu from different parts of India to celebrate this festival in their ways. There are no restrictions on the dance forms or anything. The unity in diversity can be seen in its full-fledged form.

Date: February/March

5. Mahamaham


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Kumbakonam is the small town of Tamil Nadu where this festival is celebrated in every 12 years. It is organised in a massive way. This festival has the grandeur of both Indian as well as Greek festivals. People gather near a tank called Mahamaham Tank to take a bath. Taking a bath from that Tank is considered as sacred as taking a bath in the Kumbh organized in the northeast state of Prayag Raj in India.

The scientific or the astrological idea about this festival is that Jupiter enters the Leo sign in the constellation once in twelve years according to our calendar. The purification of all our sins takes place when we take a bath from that auspicious tank. There is a huge crowd gathered at this place in Tamil Nadu on this day. People from other countries also visit there and take a bath from the Mahamaham Tank.

Date: 17th February 2022

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6. Tamil New Year’s Day

Celebration with lights

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The Tamil New Year’s Day festival is observed in April as the middle of April is the beginning of the first month of the Tamil calendar, Puthandu. The culture of making designs and patterns with flowers, colours, and rice is very popular in south India. On this day, women can be seen making beautiful Kolams or Rangolis in front of their houses. The entrance of the house is decorated.

People take a shrine bath and then they visit the temples. The temple Kanni is visited in particular. It is the most auspicious temple for starting some new things. One needs to visit there once. Golds, betel leaves, and many more things are to be seen in plenty almost everywhere on this day. Foods are an important part of festivals. People eat delicious food on this day. A sweet and sour dish is made. Mangoes and jaggeries are mixed with neem to make this tasty food. It is known as Maanga Pachadi.

Date: 14th April 2022

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7. Karthigai Deepam

Lights Festival

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Karthigai Deepam is the festival of lights which marks the beginning of good vibes and positivity in our life.The Tamil calendar plays an important part in understanding the various festivals of Tamil Nadu. Karthigai, the month in the Tamil calendar that is in November and December, this festival is celebrated. The moon is observed to align with the constellation named Karthigai. Thus, the name of the festival comes from here. This festival makes people aware of the good and the bad. People leave all their anxieties and even the poorest of the poor would get some new clothes to wear on this day.

Meeting their relatives and exchanging gifts among themselves is the beauty of this festival. The story behind this festival is also very interesting to know. It is believed that on this day in Tamil Nadu, Lord Shiva appeared on Earth. The Deeps of the Lights are lit with Ghee and Camphor. These two materials are considered auspicious, pure and sacred in Hindu tradition. The huge fire is burnt and people gather around singing and shouting slogans and mantras. People can be heard saying “Annamalaiyar Arohara”. The central attraction of this festival for the visitors and tourists is the huge Fair organised at several places in Tamil Nadu. This festival and the fare on this day must be observed by everyone on the planet because it is very auspicious.

Date: 6th December 2022

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And these festivals are not just vibrant and full of life, but it has also kept the ancient traditions alive. From the famous harvest festivals to the extravagant and traditional way of celebrating Tamil’s new year. These festivals are spread for the whole year, and whoever plans a visit here gets a chance to witness one of these celebrations. So, if you’re planning a holiday in Tamil Nadu, then make sure to be a part of one of these festivals of Tamil Nadu.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Festivals Of Tamil Nadu

Which dance form is the most famous in Tamil Nadu?

Mayil Attam, Kummi, Bharatnatyam, Bomalatham, etc. are the most famous folk dances of Tamil Nadu. Many other dances from the classical to the contemporary are there, but these folk dances are the most famous ones.

Which food is the most popular food of Tamil Nadu?

Idli, Sambhar, Dosa, and Uttapam are the four most famous dishes of Tamil Nadu. These foods are famous throughout the country. They are the healthiest diet food made from the flour of rice and coconut oil.

Which is the most popular festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu?

Pongal is the most famous festival that is celebrated in Tamil Nadu. It is the harvest festival. It is the festival when people give offerings to the Sun God. It is the most auspicious festival of Tamil Nadu.

How many months are there in the Tamil calendar?

The number of months in the Tamil calendar is twelve. But they do not match with the months of the calendar that we use – January to December.

Which is the oldest festival in Tamil Nadu?

The first day of the Tamil calendar on the 14th of April is celebrated as the Puthandu. This is also known as the Tamil New Year’s Festival.

What are the important music festivals of Tamil Nadu?

Pongal and Mahamaham are the two most important music festivals of Tamil Nadu.

Where else in India are the festivals of Tamil Nadu celebrated?

The festivals of Tamil Nadu are also famous in the northeastern states of India. It is celebrated almost all over the country today. People from Tamil Nadu living in different parts of the country celebrate it.

Which is the most popular traditional dress of Tamil Nadu?

Men wear Lungi and a shirt or dhoti with Angavastram. Women wear Saree and Blouse. The red and yellow colours are mostly preferred.

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