Mariamman - Aadi Special


Samayapuram Mariamman, Trichy

Mari is a tamil word spelt as Maari means rain. Mariamman is the mother Goddess for rain. She is the most ancient and popular deity among the village deities in southern India especially in Salem district of Tamilnadu. The Goddess is worshipped under several other names such as Amman, Atthu, Ayam Ayee (Mother) Dharmapuri (Mari with army) Magamayee ( Great Mother) and Vadivattha ( Beautiful Mother). All the names indicate an ancient form of ancestral mother worship.

Iconographically, Mari represented in a sitting posture with four bands. They hold a drum, a trident a bundle if ropes and a skull. Whilescholars believe that she is a goddess of the pre Aryan days, most ofthe common people believe her as Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva orDurga who arose from her to kill the asuras. Some people believe her tobe Renuka, the mother of Lord Parasurama.

Devi karumari, Thiruverkadu, Chennai

Mari Amman rules over discuses that bring death, especially small pox. At times of small-pox incidence, the leaves of the neem tree (netta azadirachia) sacred to the goddess, are spread on the bed of the afflicted person and a bunch of them tied in the entrance of the patients house indicating the presence of the goddess. In the benevolent aspect, the goddess brings rainy to put an end to the diseases which result from the heat.

She is believed to cure a variety of illness of those who offer silver sheet metal models of their affected organs. This type of prayer is commonly found in almost all Mari Amman temples in Salem.

Kottaimariamman, Salem
Almost every village has a temple or shrine dedicated to Her which is the focus of village festivals. Annual festivals in early or late summer in the tamil month month aadi that commences in mid of July and ends in mid of August. usually last for several days. The festival begins with the planting of a stump of a neem tree mentioned as Poochatuthal in tamil, 6 tall and with three prongs at the top; A new mud pot containing sanctified water is placed among the prongs. Once the festival starts the people of that area are announced to stay there and not to leave the area till the festival is finished. It is a belief one who leaves the village or town after the festival commences will be punished by Her.

Offering Pongal
Devotees offer her pongal (Sweetened rice with jaggery or sugar in ritual cooking), sacrifice goats and roosters in the temple yard.

Bare footed on burning coals
Some devotees walk bare feet on burning coals mentioned as Theemidhi vizha. Walking on burning coals is an ancient custom practiced in honour of mother goddess. These self-inflicted in honor of mother goddess.

Devotees with knives pierced
Punnainallur Mariamman, Thanjavur
Next comes pierce their bodies with pins and knives. These self-inflicted painful fistulas were prohibited during the British rule as they were thought to be injurious to health of the devotees.

On the last day of the festival, a procession of floats is held, each float depicting a legendary scene. Fireworks conclude the festivities. This type of worship is followed all oer the world wherever Mariammans idol is incarnated.


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1 comment:

  1. It is a wonderful post, enjoyed every bit of ur write-up. Am an ardent devoteee of Samayapuram Mariamman, thanks for sharing beautiful info.

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