KALLAKURUCHI: After a two-year hiatus, thousands of transgender people from across the country swarmed the Koothandavar Temple Festival in Koovagam on Tuesday night. Before a night full of dancing, laughter and music, priests tied thalis – according to the customs of the feast – to transpersons who donned garlands and bright bridal outfits.
According to locals, 18 days of Chithirai festival, based on the battle of Mahabharata, is held every year at Koothandavar in Kallakurichi district. This year, the feast began on April 5 with Parsagai Varthal, and signaled the usual porridge distributed to devotees.
Then the thalis were linked to the temple management staff and Pandaladi villagers the next day. On consecutive days, devotional speakers delivered discourses regarding the Mahabharata each evening.
Tuesday’s main event was marked by the eye-opening ceremony. During the afternoon as several transpersons and thalis of Koothandavar, the presiding deity, were bound to them. Following this, they celebrated their marriage with Koothandavar or Aravan, son of Arjunan. The stories of the greatness of the deity have been told through the traditional Tamil folk songs – Kummi Pattu.
Meanwhile, the State AIDS Control Society held an outreach program and light music performance in Koovagam on Tuesday evening. Collector PN Sridhar opened the show. He then visited a TNSACS medical camp for HIV testing.