Padhinettam Perukku (meaning the floods/rising of the eighteenth) is a regional festival of tamils unique to the people of villages/ towns on the banks of River Cauvery.
This ancient festival patronized by Kings falls invariably on the 18th day of the tamil month Aadi (Aashad or shoonya maas) and is therefore known as Aadi padhinettu or Aadi perukku. On this day river Cauvery raises/swells to its full capacity in the Thanjavur – Trichy region of Tamilnadu due to the onset of monsoon.
Basically a nature worship - a prayer and thanksgiving to the monsoon for uninterrupted supply of water and good harvest, for this is what sustains the life of people in the Cauvery delta. People also worship water in the form of temple wells and temple tanks. This is also the month when new seeds are sowed by farmers. Ritualistically people worship her like a female goddess by lighting agal vilakku( diya) and offering puja to her on the river basins which is a fertile land for growing crops.
Friends and relatives get together to pray and feast on the banks of the river. On this day only mixed rice like puliyodhirai(tamarind rice), thengaisaadam(coconut rice), elumbicchai saadam( lemon rice) , thayir saadam(curd rice) are made. The accompaniments are Avial( medley of vegetables in coconut gravy), vadams( fryums) and papad. This is then eaten on the banks of the river like a picnic. They also express their joy by dancing a form called ‘Kummi’( similar to garbha) and kolattam( Dandiya).
The scientific significance of this month is that Sun changes his direction from north to south which is called Dakshinayana in sanskrit( Dakshin- south and ayana is travel) and so sun moves towards debilation. Hence it is a practice to indulge in religious practices to please the deities since the positive energy received from sun is lessening gradually. To establish our connection with the energy spots enshrined in rocks, it is important to visit temples and bond with the creative energy in temples and thus this month is full of festivals like Aadi velli, Aadi Pooram, Aadi Kirthigai and today’s Aadi padhinettu and it is also a forerunner for hindu festivals like lakshmi vrat, Sri Jayanthi, chaturthi,etc.,.
To focus our energy and attention on the Gods, no auspicious events llike weddings, upanayanam or even shopping for goods are restricted in this month. The reason why business is pretty dull during these month and hence tradesman come up with the famous discount sales like Aadi/aashad discounts to attract customers during this time.
Info courtesy: My family elders