About - Chithirai According to Tamil calendar Chithirai is the first month of the year and on the full moon day of this month Madurai celebrates the famous Chithirai festival. According to Gregorian calendar the festival falls in the month of April and May.
The festival is celebrated in Madurai Temple with great enthusiasm by people and it continues for fifteen days.The festival is associated with Lord Vishnu and it also marks the beginning of the new financial year.
Legend has it that Lord Vishnu rode on golden horse to attend the ceremony but then he realized that he was too late for his sister's wedding and did not cross the river Vaigai and returned back to Azhagar Kovil. On this day Lord Vishnu comes to attend the marriage ceremony of her sister and Lord Sundreshwar, which is celebrated as Chithirai.
During Chithirai festival many events take place and people come to witness them from all over the world, not only because of their religious importance but also because they are very interesting to see
The first event that takes place in whole celebration of Chithirai festival is the "Kodi Yetram" in which the chief priest of Meenakshi temple declares the opening of the festival by hoisting the flag on the flag post of the temple.
The flag stays on flag post till the end of the festival. The second event is "Pattabisekam", in which Meenakshi Amman is crowned as queen of Madurai for next four months. "Dikvijayam" is the next event which represents the time when Meenakshi Amman was crowned as Queen of Madurai and went to the war where she fell in love with Lord Shiva.
Dikvijayam is followed by "Meenakshi Tirukalyanam" which is a grand celebration of Meenakshi Amman and Lord Shiva.On the day of "Ther Thiruvizha" huge wooden chariot is decorated and thousands of people come on streets to pull this holy chariot.
"Etir Sevai" is the event where people celebrate and welcome "Alagar" in Madurai city. The event "Alagar Vaigai Elenthuarulal" takes place in the middle of the river Vaigai at the place where Lord Vishnu realizing that he could not attend the marriage got angry and returned back. He returned from the place after giving gifts to her sister Meenakshi.It also represents the traditional Hindu South Indian wedding.