Karadayan Nonbu - celebrating Savitri-Satyavan
This Mar 14th is observed as Karadayan Nonbu
in the Tamil tradition.
This is observed on the
first day of the Nirayana Sauramana month of Mina
(Tamil: Panguni). More precisely it is observed
when the sun moves into Mina Rashi.
Karadayan Nonbu commemorates Savitri
bringing back her husband, Satyavan
from the clutches of death
through her penance and devotion.
This happened in the beginning of spring
as implied in the Savitri-Satyavan story.
According to one tradition, Vasanta (Spring)
starts with the start of Mina month. [#]
Hence, Karadayan Nonbu is observed at this time.
The Savitri-Satyavan story is told by Markandeya Rishi
to Yudhishtira in Vana Parva of Mahabharata.
The story in brief: [*]
Savitri lives with her husband and in-laws in the
forest. One spring day she accompanies
her husband to gather fruits and firewood.
Yama comes and takes Satyavan away.
Savitri follows. Yama offers a series of boons
to stop her from following.
She finally asks for 100 children.
Yama grants it. Savitri says, "How am I to
have 100 children without my husband ?
So, please restore him to life." Yama agrees
and Satyavan is saved.
A Vada shaped sweet (called Karadai) is made
and eaten with butter. It is said that Savitri
prayed in the forest and did naivedya using
mud cakes and plant sap. The sweet signifies
the mud cakes and butter, the plant sap. [+]
The wives also renew their mangalasutra (tali)
on this day.
[#] If that is an accurate way to decide seasons is debatable.
Topic for another day.
Also an English translation of the Savitri-Satyavan story (pdf)
[+] http://www.kamakoti.org/tamil/karadi.htm (tamil)
for Indian Heritage