Kavadi Festival is a perfect blend of different human emotions. Faith, sacrifice, custom and the tradition are the few words that can describe the colours of this unique festival of Tamil Nadu. Dedicated to Lord Murga, the festival is celebrated during April-May in all the shrines of Lord Murga. It is believed, participating in the festival brings prosperity and blessings of Lord Murga.
Unlike other festivals of the state, Kavadi festival is based on sacrifice. According to the belief, one receives a great amount of virtue by performing Kavadi. It is a painful way of offering prayers to the deity. The devotee performing Kavadi has to sacrifice a lot to complete the act of offering prayers. After performing Kavadi, Lord Murga showers his blessings on the devotee and takes away all pains of the devotees.
It is one of the most interesting festivals of Tamil Nadu. Rituals of the festival include carrying a Kavadi on the shoulders. Made up of wooden sticks and two baskets, Kavadi is to be filled by rice and other articles that devotee wishes to offer the deity. Devotees decorate these Kavadis to make it more presentable to the deity. They carry these Kavadi on their shoulders till they get the promised amount of articles by begging. It is believed, putting articles in these Kavadis is another act of offering prayers to the deity.
Toughest of these Kavadi offerings is Agni Kavadi. To offer Agni Kavadi to Lord Murga, one has to walk over a pit of red hot coals. Supported by different other devotees, the Kavadi bearer performs the rituals to please the deity.
Another popular ritual is passing sharp spears through the different body parts. Devotees perform all these acts just to please the deity. Kavadi bearer has to make many sacrifices during this act. They do not shave and wear a special dress, which is known as the 'Dress of Pandaram'. Other sacrifices include, giving up all the bad habits and having only 'Satwik' food. Some of the devotees also sacrifice their act of speech. They ensure their sacrifice by piercing their tongue.