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Koovagam Festival: A festival of the third gender community in South India

The Koovagam Festival is a celebration held in South India for those who identify as third gender. In the Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu’s Ulundurpettai taluk, you’ll find the peaceful village of Koovagam.

During the month of Chittirai in the Tamil calendar, which falls around in the middle of April, thousands of people travel to the village of Koovagam, which is located approximately 190 kilometers away from Chennai.

It was familiar with the Koovagam festival, which lasted for eighteen days and was held for the purpose of honoring Kuthandavar or Arvan, the village deity.

People of the hijra community or the third gender were the ones who primarily attended the festival. The Koovagam festival is the largest festival in India and South Asia for persons of third sexual orientation.

Koovagam Festival: A festival of the third gender community in South India

The festival was held in honor of a good ballad of self-sacrifice that took place during the battle of Kurukshetra in the Mahabharata.

The god Aravan or Iravan was the subject of the ballad. Even though the incident is not mentioned in the Mahabharata that was written in Sanskrit, a detailed explanation of the event can be found in the Mahabharata that was written in Tamil by Peruntevana in the ninth century.

This version of the Mahabharata is known as the Tamil Mahabharata. Aside from that, the tale of Aravan’s bravery and the noble sacrifice he made is told frequently among the people who live in the Deccan.

This Iravan, also known as Aravan, was Arjuna’s son. Arjuna is considered to be one of the most influential characters in the Mahabharata. After practicing Brahmacharya for a period of twelve years, Arjuna was forced to leave on a pilgrimage to the capital of the Pandavas, Indraprastha, because his older brothers Yudhisthira and Draupadi had entered the region without showing any remorse.

During his travels, Arjuna found himself in the kingdom of the Nags, which is located in the northeastern part of India. It was here that he wed Ulupi, who was the daughter of Nagraj Kauravya Nag.

There is no doubt about it. Arvan, the son of Ulupi, the daughter of Nagraj, and therefore Arjuna’s hero, was a fearless and formidable warrior who was also very principled and selfless. Arvan was the son of Ulupi, the daughter of Nagraj.

During the battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna urged his sons to fight with their father and the Pandavas. Aravan traveled to the desert of Kurukshetra after learning his father’s decision and after arriving there.

Therefore, the Pandavas and the Kauravas are both preparing for battle at the same time. The issue of time quickly became a major one.

‘Kalepalli’ was an ancient practice that required the sacrifice of humans in order to appease the goddess Adiparasakti and guarantee victory.

It is inevitable that the side that will sacrifice its bravest warrior to the goddess will emerge victorious from the conflict. However, there ought to be thirty-two ominous signs on that warrior’s body.

(The Koovagam Festival is a celebration held annually in South India by members of the third gender community.)

Only the statues of Lord Krishna, Arjuna, and Aravan have the potential to provide good luck to the Pandavas. Aravan volunteered to step forward all by himself.

While he was standing in front of everyone, he announced that he was going to sacrifice himself to the goddess. But before that, Arvan imposed three prerequisites on the situation.

First, it is fitting that he should have a heroic end as a warrior in the heat of combat. Second, even after death, he should still be able to picture the fight that just took place.

Third, because Aravan had never been married, he contemplated giving up his virginity prior to passing away. On the basis of this third criteria, they now celebrated the Koovagam festival.

However, there was a problem with the third criterion, which meant that the first two conditions might be easily accepted.

The next day following the wedding, no young lady was willing to wed a man whose husband’s passing was a foregone conclusion. After some time had passed, Sri Krishna took the form of Mohini and spent the night with Arvan before getting married the following day.

Aravan fought valiantly until the eighth day of the battle of Kurukshetra, but he was ultimately taken down by a monster known as Alambus.

During the performance put on by Aravan, Sri Krishna, in the guise of Mohini, wiped the mark of his marriage and placed it on the widow’s garment while anxiously crying.

After being severed from his body, Aravan’s head is then placed on an oversized spear blade and placed on the battlefield so that he can observe the conflict from any vantage point he chooses.

It is possible that this is the reason why only his severed head is honored within the Aravan temple.

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Aravan’s self-sacrifice, grieving, and widowhood at the death of Sri Krishna in the guise of Mohini are celebrated in Kuthandavar or Aravan once every year during the month of Tamil Chittarai, and young women from the Hijra community take part in the festival.

They believe this because they consider Aravan to be the first god of the Hijra people and because they consider themselves to be Mohini and Aravan’s children. Because of this, they refer to themselves as “Aravanians.”

Within the confines of the community of Koovagam, a colorful celebration that lasted for eighteen days was organized all around the Aravan temple. Koovagam served as a meeting place for members of the third gender community, not just from India but also from other countries in South Asia.

In addition many local dances, songs, and other cultural events taking place every day, other awareness initiatives are now being sponsored by a wide range of voluntary organizations. Additionally, a beauty pageant known as “Miss Koovagam” is held on a yearly basis, and the only contestants are Brihanla women.

This forward-thinking program, which was planned for individuals of the third sex, has received appreciation from a variety of regions around the country as well as from other countries.

The first sixteen days are dedicated to a variety of events, and the seventeenth day marks the beginning of the 000 festival. (The Koovagam Festival is a celebration held annually in South India by members of the third gender community.)

At this time, the ladies of the Hijra community dress in a manner similar to that of brides. A glass bangle is worn on the hand, a vermilion dot is placed on the scalp, and a garland or garland is worn on the head.

Additionally, a thali or mangal sutra is worn around the neck. Therefore, as a result of the newlyweds of Lord Aravan, they bowed down and submitted themselves at the feet of their gods.

The night was filled with singing and dancing throughout the wedding ceremony, all of which took place in the native language.

The next day, they planned and carried out a parade from the temple carrying a head made of wood to represent Aravan.

The march was attended by a large number of individuals. They hung several flower garlands from the ceiling of Aravan. Then the ladies who had been selected to be Aravan’s wives wept in sorrow.

The mangal sutra, which was worn as a barrier around the temple priests’ necks, was shattered, and the vermilion was removed by shattering the bangles, which were worn on their hands.

After that, he expressed his sorrow at Aravan’s untimely passing while beating his chest.

Aravan had a garland of flowers hanging around his neck, and it was ripped off so that it could serve as a symbol of his passing.

After that, she had a shower, changed out of the colorful sari, and put on the white clothing that widows traditionally wear. The eighth day of the festival came to a conclusion with this.

They will keep this attire worn by the widow for a full month. After that, get back to your regular routine.

In Indian civilization, those who are a part of the Hijra community have been subjected to neglect, deprivation, and oppression for hundreds of years.

When people on the road see Brihanlads, many of us get annoyed and move away from them, whether we’re riding the train or the bus.

They are still considered to be Brahmins by society even though the third sex has become more acceptable over the course of several decades of arduous effort. In the religion of Hinduism, Ardhanarishvara, also known as Lord Shiva, and Adi Shakti Mahamaya were previously worshipped as a blessed Kinnar community of Shiva; nevertheless, they neglected Shakti themselves in one corner of modern civilization.

The Koovagam festival ought to demonstrate to society that these marginalized individuals have the same right as themselves to participate in social and cultural activities.

They enjoy themselves to the fullest extent possible, as they do today and every other day of the holiday season.

They engage in activities such as singing, dancing, and making a lot of noise in an attempt to distract themselves from the humiliation they experience on a daily basis.

(The Koovagam Festival is a celebration held annually in South India by members of the third gender community.)

They believe that they are a portion of Sri Krishna’s Mohini incarnation, and they appear to comprehend that acknowledgement by becoming married to the god Aravan.

One of the most significant recent additions to the eighteen days of cultural events that surround the festival may be a beauty competition that is exclusive to people of the third sex.

Even for one night, you’ll be able to feel the happiness of the marriage that they’re bereft of happiness for the rest of their lives.

During this time, perhaps the oppressed people of the society will be able to forget all of their daily woes and humiliations and luxuriate in the enjoyment of life;

During this time, these oppressed people will be able to forget all of their daily woes and humiliations. (celebration held by members of South India’s third gender group)

The hijras’ perceptions of this traditional community are changing as a result of this Koovagam festival.

The necessity to acknowledge people of the third sex as people of flesh and blood, particularly their sexual identities, and especially to respect their human feelings appears to be a slap in the face to the outmoded notions that society holds.

This is especially true when it comes to the need to acknowledge people of the third sex as people of flesh and blood.

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