Karadayan Nonbu or Savitri Vratham
is a traditional
Tamil festival of fasting and tying of turmeric smeared yellow thread around the necks, and pray for the well being and long life of their husbands.
This nonbu should be done exactly in the time
when Tamil month 'Masi' ends and the next month 'Panguni' starts. The legend goes that "Savithri fought with Lord Yama to save
her husbands life, therefore the significance of fasting is for the long life and well being of their husbands.
This year the date for karadayan nonbu is 14 th March 2016 and the time it should be carried out between 10 am to 10.30 am IST
The neivehdyam or the prashad for this fasting is Karadayan Nonbu Adai with
butter.Yellow turmeric smeared threads with a flower are tied around the necks of both married, unmarried and young girls at the appropriate moment after doing pooja.One yellow thread should be tied for the Goddess or the lamp in the house as a symbol..
The following lines to be chanted while tying the thread. "Urugadha Vennayam oru adayum vaithu nonbu notren oru
nallum en kanavar piriyamal iruka vendum".
(Karamani is a brown cow peas, or white cow peas,blackeyed cow peas).
Ingredients for the uppu adai ( salted version )
- 1 cup rice flour (obtained by soaking raw rice for an hour, kept to dry on a cloth and air dried.This rice is then powdered in the mixie to a very fine texture, sieved and 1 cup measure from this powder.This is the traditional version.Nowadays excellent rice flour is used, I used the string hopper rice flour and it came out excellent. So your choice to follow the method.)
- 3/4 cup of karamani required for both sweet and salt version , soaked for few hours and pressure cooked till lightly soft. Dont over cook.
- 2 green chillis finely chopped.some curry leaves .
- Salt to taste.
- Pinch of asafoetida.
- 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut.
- 2 cups water to prepare the dough
- 2 tsp oil.
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds for tempering.
- 1/2 ts split udad dal
Ingredients for Jaggery adai or sweet adai.
- 1 cup rice flour same as above.
- A pinch of cardamom powder
- 1 cup jaggery powdered.
- 2 cups water to make the dough.
- 3 tbsp grated fresh coconut
To prepare the savory version of adai.
In a pan, add the oil, let it become hot, add the mustard seeds, let it splutter, add the split udad dal , let tit brown, then add the green chiils, curry leaves pinch of asafoetida, then add 2 cups of water.
Allow the water t o boil well, add the cooked karamani divided from the 3/4 cup cooked. saving some for the sweet adai.
Add the rice flour slowly and mixing with other hand to prevent lumps forming. Stir well, to get a smooth lump free dough.
Let the dough cool down a bit.
To prepare the sweet /jaggery version of adai
You can get started the preps for the sweet adai version while this is cooling..
In another pan add the water, and the jaggery, let the jaggery melt, filter it from impurities by using a sieve, the keep it back on the stove, add the pinch of cardamom, grated coconut, and the remaining karamani already pre cooked.
Let this jaggery water come to a boil, then add the rice flour slowly with one hand whilst you keep mixing with the other. to prevent lumps..
Let this dough come to a cool state.
To prepare the adais ( savoury )
. First knead the dough gently, it should be still warm, pinch off small balls and keep covered to prevent drying off while you keep making the adais.
Take one ball of dough, grease the palm , or a plaintain leaf, gently press in the middle and with a finger make small dent but not too big a hole.see the pics.
Finish off all the dough balls one by one , keeping them covered as you prepare the next one, .
Meanwhile keep an Idli steamer ready with water and grease the plates, place all the adais around the plate , dont crowd too much, use up all the plates, and keep it in the idli steamer to cook by steaming for 12 minutes.
When you open , they will appear shiny and firm .
To Prepare the sweet adai
The procedure for making the sweet adai is the same, take the sweet dough, pinch off small balls, flatten gently either on a greased plaintain leaf or on the palm itself, make a small dent and prepare all the sweet adais this way. Then steam it like the savory adais in the idli steamer for 12 minutes till done.
The both versions are offered as neivediyam with a pat of butter and eaten that way.
More about the festival and the significance in detail
Karadaiyan Nombu or Karadayan Nonbu is a major Tamil
festival which is celebrated at the time on Meena Sankranti or Sankramana. It
is celebrated at the moment when Tamil month Maasi ends and month Panguni
starts. Karadai is the name of a unique Nivedyam prepared on this day and Nombu
means Vratham or Upavasam.
It is believed that Savitri got her husband Satyavan back
from Yama, the Lord of Death on the very same day. Due to this legend
Karadaiyan Nombu is also known as Savithri Vratam. On Karadayan Nonbu day women
worship Goddess Gowri and offer her Karadiyan Nombu Nivedyam. After Puja women
tie the sacred yellow cotton thread known as Manjal Saradu or Nonbu Charadu for
well-being of their husband.
Married women observe it for long lives of their husband
while unmarried girls observe it to get ideal person as their husband. On this
day married women and young girls wear yellow robes and pray to Hindu Goddesses
for long life for their husband or to get ideal person as their husband in the
The fast for Karadayan Vritham is observed from sunrise on
the transition day when God Surya moves from Kumbha Rashi to Meena Rashi. Fast
breaking time for Savitri Nombu might fall any time between current day Sunrise
to next day Sunrise depending on time of Meena Sankramana.
It is based on
the legend of Satyavan and Savitri. Based on this myth each region in India
observes an Upvaas in different time of the year. In Tamil Nadu, it is observed
during the transition of Tamil Month Maasi and Panguni. The story of Satyavan
and Savitri is a sub plot in the Mahabharata.
The legend behind the festival vratham
King Ashtapati had a beautiful and intelligent daughter
named Savitri. The King gave her the permission to choose her husband. One day,
Savitri met a young man in the forest who was carrying his blind parents in two
baskets balanced on either side of a stick. The young man was Satyavan.
Impressed by Satyavan’s devotion towards his blind parents,
Savitri decides to marry him. On enquiry, the King found out from Sage Narada
that Satyavan was the son of a deposed king and that he was destined to die in
King first refused to the marriage but Savitri was adamant.
Finally, the King relented and the marriage was conducted and the couple left
for the forest.
They led a happy life and soon a year passed and Savitri
realized that Satyavan would die any moment. So she kept fast and always
followed him. She cooked a special adai and served it to her family and gave
some as offering to the Gods.
Next day, she followed Satyavan to the forest. While cutting
woods, he fell down and fainted. Soon, Savitri realized that Satyavan is dying.
Suddenly she felt the presence of Yama, the god of death. She saw him carrying
the soul of Satyavan and she followed Yama.
Yama first ignored Savitri thinking that she will soon
return back to her husband’s body. But she persisted and kept on following him.
Yama tried few tricks to persuade her but nothing worked. Then Yama said that
it is impossible for him to give back the dead as it is against the nature’s
law. Instead, he will give her three boons.
Savitri agreed with the first boon she asked for a son for
her father. With the second boon she asked that her in-laws be reinstated in
their kingdom with full glory.
Finally, for the third boon she asked ‘I would like to have
Yama immediately said ‘granted.’ But soon Yama realized that
he had been tricked by Savitri.
Yama remained silent for a minute and then smiled and said
‘I appreciate you persistence. But what I liked more was you readiness to marry
a man whom you loved even though you knew that he would only live for a year.
Go back to your husband he will soon wake up.’
Soon Savitri and Satyavan were reunited.
Basic preparations for Karadai Nombu
First and foremost find the exact time when Maasi month ends
and Panguni month starts. The pooja is to be performed at this time. And the
fast is observed from the sunrise on the supposed transition day. (For example,
if the transition from Maasi to Panguni takes place at today 11 AM, then the
fast is from today’s sunrise till 11 AM.) The Savitri Nombu or fast breaking
time can be at anytime in the morning or evening.
Two important things needed are Karadi or Kaaradai are a
yellow thread with few flowers and Karadai dish preparation.
Karadai Nombu Thread:
Take a yellow thread and tie few
flowers and two pieces of turmeric pieces in the middle. When the thread is
tied around the neck, the flowers will be like a decoration on a necklace and
the turmeric in the center like a pendant.
Prepare Karadai adai dish (Nivediya). It is prepared with
karamani or toor gram and fresh butter.
An idol or image of any married like Goddess Parvati or
The prepared yellow thread
Prepare the house for pooja which includes cleaning and
decorating with mango leaves and drawing of kolam.
Take bath and prepare the Karadai thread and Karadai dish
The fast begins at sunrise and ends when Maasi Month ends
and Panguni begins. (This is bit tricky – the ideal method to find the time is
the temple priest or one who knows to read the Panchangam).
If the fast is too long, some devotees eat some fruits but
does not cook or eat rice.
An hour or half before the exact transition time, place the
banana leaf on the kolam or the puja area and place Karadai dish on the leaf.
Other items to place on the leaf are the betel leaf, betel nut, fruits,
coconut, banana and butter.
Ten minutes or a couple of minutes before the exact
transition time, the nivediya is offered to the goddess.
It can be offered by sprinkling some water and ringing the
bell or by performing an arati.
During this time the devotee chants the famous Tamil Chant
associated with Savitri Nombu
Urugda Venaiyum oru adai nveithan.
Oru kaalam yen kanavan yenaai piriyatha iruka vendum
(I offer adai and butter to you. So that my husband and I
Then the devotee can wear the yellow thread with flowers and
turmeric around the neck.
After prayers and the fast is broken by eating a Karadai
That which is left on the banana leaf is distributed as
prasad along with Karadai dish.