Tiruppavai, Street Bhajans and Kolam
Margazhi Trivia Series: Author Radhika Radhakrishnan
Rangoli and Photo by Swathi Lakshmanan
The first 5 songs are stage setting for the rest of the songs. The next 10 songs are rendered as if she is addressing the others like Krishana’s parents so as to make it easier for her to reach Krishna. In the last 10 songs she addresses Krishna and prays for his blessings not only in this birth but also in any number of births that she may take.
Thus when she does puja for 30 days, will she not offer Krishna something to eat? The girl who gave up ghee, milk and all luxurious food for herself offers him “ akaravadisal” a sweet dish made with rice, dhall and milk seasoned with lot of ghee, nuts etc. She mentions that the amount of ghee is so much that it will drip through your hands.
People who sing the pasurams with all devotion also make akkara vadisal, sakkarai pongal, venn pongal everyday and offer it to the God. In the temples, specially vishnu temples you can see people will be busy early in the morning at 5 o’clock singing tiruppavai and other Bhajans smelling the aroma of the prasadams coming from the temple kitchen. In the chillness of the dawn the hot prasadam will be a treat to enjoy. This definitely adds to the speciality of Margazhi.
Bhajans are not sung only in the temple, there are bhajans sung in the streets also.This is also done early in the morning only. People assemble in front of the local temples covering themselves with sweaters,woollen headgears and go in the streets around the temple accompanied with Harmonium and dolaks. Their bhajans will be in all languages ,like telugu, hindi, sanskrit, Marathi and Tamil. They proceed slowly ,sometimes stopping on the way and dancing also. As time passes more and more people will join them and by the time they reach the temple the crowd will be more. This is an age- old tradition followed till today.
Another speciality about Margazhi is ‘Kolam’. Kolam is drawing designs on the floor with a special powder. No one learns it from any art school, no paraphernalias, just a small dish with the powder. They don’t even sit or stand while drawing kolam; they just bend and keep moving in circles. No reference book, all from their imagination and spontaneity.. Generally this is done by the ladies. They wash the frontage of their house and do kolams.While this is done throughout the year, during Margazhi the size of the kolams will be very big. Kolams are sometimess made by joining the dots or sometimes just geometrical figures expanded one over the other. Color powders are also used to fill up the designs. There will be secret competitions among the neighbours in drawing kolams. Kolams are common sights in the villages as much as in the cities. In the villages flowers are used for decoration. Drawing kolam is found all over South India but in Tamilnadu Margazhi kolams are special. Kolam Competitions are conducted nowadays. Whole street is given to the participants to showcase their talents.
While kolam is still going strong it has also evolved into another form, Rangoli. Rrangoli is more like a painting on the floor with color powders. Mythological figures, animals, and everything is depicted in Rangoli.