Essay on “Float Festival”
Float Festival is celebrated at Madurai in Tamil Nadu on the night of the full moon between mid-January and mid-February every year. The ornamented icons of the two deities, God Sundaresan and Goddess Meenakshi, with pearl crowns on their heads and riding on a golden bull, are taken out in a splendid procession from the Meenakshi temple.
The occasion is that God Alazar gives his sister Meenakshi in marriage to Sundaresa amidst great rejoicing. The devotees, clothed in yellow and red, dance among the crowd and spray coloured water on them. The icons are floated around the temple tank on a specially constructed raft, decked with flowers and flickering lamps with the sound of traditional music.
Built-in 1636, the tank has an island pavilion in the centre with a garden and temple which enshrines an idol of Lord Vigneshwa, the elephant-faced god. The placid waters of her tank turn colourful when the mandapam is lit up and the temple deities are brought to it in decorated floats. This festival attracts pilgrims from all over the country.