Madurai Chithirai Thiruvizha festival honoring communal harmony comes to an end

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Chenai: The 21-day Chithirai Thiruvizha festivities in Madurai with Meenakshi Thirukalyanam and Kallazagar entering the Vaigai River ended on April 21. During the thiruvizha (festival) held after two years, Madurai saw thousands of devotees arriving in the city to get a glimpse of Thirukalayanam and Kallazhagar.

The festival also aimed to promote religious harmony between Shaivas and Vaishnavas seen from people of both sects. The religious songs that take hold of the city-temple echo the harmony between the two communities.

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Meenakshi festival related to Shaivas and Alagar festival related to Vaishnavas were first celebrated separately in different months. However, King Tirumala Nayaka changed the Meenakshi festival from the Tamil month Maasi to Chithirai. Later the two festivals were merged to unite Shaivas and Vaishnavas.

From April 1, thousands of people gathered to witness the heavenly wedding of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar. The Thirukalyanam was held on April 14 at the temple premises.

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In the evening, the Kallazhagar festival started after the procession was signaled from Kondappa Nayakkar Mandapam to the temple. Later, the Lord was taken to River Vaigai on Saturday.

Several other festivities including Kodi Yetram, Pattabisekam, Dikvijayam, Chariot Festival, Ethir Sevai among others were held from April 1-21.

During the last 21 days from April 1 (no moon day), people fasted for the welfare of their family members and for wealth. From April 1, people wore tulasi garlands and refrained from eating non-vegetarian foods, smoking, and consuming alcohol.

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