About Chennai Festivals
Chennai city hosts a number of fairs and festivals all through the year making it all the more interesting for the visitors to get the most out of their trips to this city. In addition to national and religious festivals of various faiths, the most prominent events and annual features in the city include the most famous dance festival of Mamallapuram, Kanthuri festival, Chennai Music and Dance Festival and pongal. These events are hosted in Chennai with great enthusiasm and colours. In addition, the float festival organized in kapaleshwarar temple at Mylapore is also famous and occurs in the month of January and February.
Chennai Tourist Fair
The Tourist Fair in Chennai is one such fair held every year in the month of January at the Islands Grounds. The tourist fair in Chennai is organized by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation. The Tourist Fair in Chennai is especially famous for its presentation of the various aspects of Tamil Nadu. The focus lies on the places of tourist interest, rich cultural heritage as well as the economic growth of the state and the city of Chennai.The Tourist Fair in Chennai draws a large number of urban crowd as well as tourists from the neighboring states. It is a great trade opportunity for the participants from the neighboring areas. At the same time, visitors from the neighboring areas flock to the tourist Fair in large numbers. The fair is the best place to gather ample knowledge about the state and the city which is the gateway to South India.The Tourist Fair in Chennai puts up around more than 150 stalls by the private traders and several by the government departments. The government departments are entitled to disseminate information about the functions of the individual departments through models and photographs featuring the cities and the villages. Ph : 25367853, 25367854.
Arubathumoovar Festival (Mar-Apr) :
The Kapaleeshwarar Temple, rebuilt in its present form in the 16th century, is one of the most important landmarks of Chennai. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and showcases beautiful architecture. Some of the inscriptions of the temple date back to 1250 AD. The temple is popular for the bronze idols of 63 Nayanmars (Shaivaite saints) established in the courtyard.During the Aurbathimoovar Festival, the 63 saints of Lord Shiva are honored for leading ideal lives of penance and devotion by carrying the idols in a colourful procession around the town. Thousands of devotees travel to Chennai to witness and be a part of the procession. Offerings of flowers and fruits are made to the deities. Streets and houses of devotees are decorated with kolams (form of sand painting using rice powder). Celebrations also include folk music and folk dances. The famous traditional 'thoippavai' puppet show is performed during the festival.
Chennai Book Fair (Dec-Jan) :
Chennai Book Fair or Madras Book Fair is an annual book fair organized in the Chennai, India by the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI). The fair typically lasts for about 10 days during the New Year-Pongal season. The fair is usually held between the last week of December and the third week of January.The Chennai Book Fair is the biggest book fairs in the country with almost all major publishers of India participating in it .The 1st Madras Book Fair was organized in Chennai between December 14 and December 24, 1977 by The Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India(BAPASI), an association with major publishing companies of Tamil Nadu especially Madras & South India.The 1st Madras Book Fair had 22 stalls and was held at the Madrasa-I-Azam school.The first six book fairs were successful mainly due to the efforts of K. V. Mathew of BI Publications who was responsible for the growth of the book fair in its early years.Mr.Mathew has also organized an annual book fair for students.The Student Book Fair, however, hasn't been as successful as the Chennai Book Fair.
The first four editions of the book fair were held in the Madrasa-I-Azam school. In 1981, the book fair moved to the YMCA grounds in Royapettah, Chennai. The 1982 edition was organized at the Drive-In restaurant. The book fairs gradually rose in popularity. At the 12th Madras Book Fair held between December 22, 1989 and January 1, 1990, Tamil translations of WHO publications were put on sale. The success of the Chennai Book Fair prompted BAPASI to start similar book fairs at Udagamandalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Pondicherry and Tiruchirapalli.The early editions were held in the last weeks of December and ended in the first week of January in order to coincide with the Christmas-New Year holidays. However, in the late nineties, the fair was moved to mid-January to coincide with the Pongal festive season.
Natyanjali Festival (Sep-Oct) :
The festival in the honor of the great Cosmic Dancer or Lord Natraja (a form of Lord Shiva) is held every year in Chidambaram during February or March. This five-day long festival starts from the auspicious occasion of the Maha Shivaratri day. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Nataraja is the Lord of Dances and hence the festival features dance performances in the 'Prakara' of the magnificent Chidambaram temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The 1000-year old temple provides a fitting backdrop to the spectacular event taking place under the golden roof of the temple showing pillars that depict Lord Nataraja in the classic 108 poses from the classical dance form of Tamil Nadu known as Bharatanatyam.
Chennai Music and Dance Festival
The classical tradition is an ancient and sophisticated art form stretching back over thousands of years. Originating in the temples and performed by the devadasis, the classical styles have been associated with mythology, philosophy, and spiritual beliefs of the Hindu culture and, in more recent times, the Islamic tradition.Classical dance has its roots in the Natya Shastra, the earliest known written text on dramaturgy. Attributed to the Sage Bharata in the second century, this Sanskrit treatise defines drama, comprising speech, mime, dance, and music, and lays down the principles governing technique and aesthetics.
Chennai music and dance festival is a celebration of classical music and dance of South India (Carnatic Music) held during mid December to mid January in the capital city of Chennai. The festival is held at a number of venues around the city by various sabhas or organizations.The 'Margazhi festival of dance and music' started early back in 1927, to commemorate the anniversary of Madras Music Academy every December was later adopted by various organizations which held art festivals in different parts of the city.The city comes alive with the festival which has now developed into a cultural extravaganza with more than 2000 participants. Performances include Vocal and Instrumental music, Dance - solo and group, both by junior and senior artistes. Even upcoming artists get a chance to perform along with well-established artists. The music includes songs in various South Indian languages like Tamil, Telugu and Kannada and instruments like Flute, 'Veena' (a large string instrument) 'Goottuvadyam' (similar to Veena but without frets), 'Nagaswaram' (pipe), 'Thavil' (percussion instrument), 'Mridangam' (drum), and even 'Ghatam' (a mud pot).
Velankanni Festival (Aug - Sep) :
With a panoramic waterfront location, the Velankanni Shrine Church is one of Chennai's most prominent attractions. Not to be confused with the more famous Mother Mary Church in Nagapattinam, this church in Besant Nagar is equally significant to local Christians. The simple yet assertive design of the structure makes it an architectural marvel. Most first time visitors are enamoured by the pretty statues contained in glass structures that depict various scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. Regular masses take place separately in Tamil and English, and attached to the church is a stage where cultural events take place. Ashtalakshmi temple, another important religious sight is located close to the church.
Margazhi Festivals (Dec-Jan) :
The entire month of Margazhi is a period of
early morning bath. Prayer and temple worship
completed before dawn, In spite of the chilly
weather. The songs of Thirupavai and
Thiruvenpavai are sung. In recent times, this is
also the time of music festival, when concerts
and dance programmes are held in the evenings,
especially in the metro Chennai.
The festival dedicated to Lord Muruga (a form of Lord Shiva), 'Kavadi' is much more than fulfilling the vow to the Lord in exchange of some wish-fulfillment, it is one of the most awesome festivals of India that makes one wonder whether there is more to the world than one can sense through one's sense organs. The vows range from simpler ones to the painful ones, which are claimed to be the result of the supreme love for God. It is said that once the worldly wish is fulfilled, the devotee takes the Kavadi and in the process comes so close to God that he attains the supreme state of devotion.
A truly secular festival - where devotees flock to the shrine of saint Quadirwali, believed to do equal good to people of all faiths. One of the descendants of the Saint is chosen as a Peer or spiritual leader and is honoured with offerings. On the tenth day of the festival, the Saint's tomb is annointed with sandalwood - and later the holy sandal paste, renowned for its healing powers, is distributed to everyone.