Chithirai Thiruvizha is an annual festival celebrated during the month of April in the ancient city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated during the Tamil month of Chitirai (Chaitra month of Hindu Calendar). The first 15 days of the month-long celebrations are devoted to the coronation of Goddess Meenakshi and her marriage to Lord Sundareswara. The next 15 days are dedicated to celebrating the journey of Lord Alagar from Kallazhagar temple in Alagar Koyil to Madurai.
The Madurai Meenakshi Temple and Sundararaja Perumal Temple in Alagarkoil witness a huge rush of devotees during this period. Flag hoisting at the Madurai Meenakshi Temple on April 8, in fact, marks the beginning of the Chithirai Thiruvizha festival.
KEY EVENTS OF MADURAI CHITHIRAI THIRUVIZHA 2019
Kodi Yetram: The chief priest of Madurai Meenakshi Temple hoists the holy flag on the Dwajasthambam(flag post) of the temple which stays there until the end of the festival.
Pattabisekam: Coronation ceremony in which Goddess Meenakshi is crowned as the queen of Madurai and is believed to rule the Pandya Kingdom for the next four months before her husband Lord Sunderaswarar is crowned as the king of Madurai for the next eight months.
Dikvijayam: Having conquered the world as the queen of Pandya kingdom, Goddess Meenakshi went to Kailaayam (the adobe of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas) to conquer it but instead fell in love with Him on the battlefield and married him.
Meenakshi Kalyanam: Meenakshi Kalyanam is the wedding celebration of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Shiva as Sundereswara in Madurai.
Chariot Festival: Chariot festival or Ther Tiruvizha or Rathotsavam is performed the day after Meenakshi kalyanam. The King and Queen of Pandya Kingdom Lord Sunderaswara and Meenakshi are believed to come to see their subjects in a decorated chariot.
Ethir Seva: The Ethir Seva begins on the fourth day of the festival at Kallazhagar temple at Alagar Koyil. People welcome Alagar who they believe changes his appearance as Kallar (Kallar vedam) when he travels via Kallar Nadu and enters Madurai city.