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 Post subject: Kumbam festival
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:59 pm 
Kumbam festival

Once Brahma, the creator, approached Lord Shiva and submitted to him that he could foresee the deluge that was going to engulf the whole world and requested his advice to save the seed of creation. Lord Shiva advised him thus; "Obtain a pot and put the seeds of creation in it. Cover it with the 'nectar' of life. Arrange a circle of mango leaves on the rim of the pot. Close the opening with a coconut. Put 'thetpai' grass on top of the coconut, and cover the pot with holy thread (poonool). Then put this 'kumbam' on top of Mount Meru". Brahma did as he was advised.

During the deluge that followed even Mount Meru went under water, but the 'kumbam' prepared by Lord Brahma floated in the water and moved with the current and came down to the South of India. The coconut, the grass and the mango leaves fell from the 'kumbam' and settled at various places. A Sivalingam appeared at each of these places to indicate the sacredness of these places. Finally the 'kumbam' itself settled down when the water of the deluge drained away.

Lord Shiva knowing that the 'kumbam' or pot had settled down came down to this place in the disguise of a hunter and shot the 'kumbam' with an arrow. The nectar contained in the pot spread over an area of 5 'krosas' (a measure of area used in the olden days) which formed into various 'theertham'. He then formed a Sivalingam by mixing the nectar with the soil and became one with it. Thus this place derived its name 'Pancha krosa sthalam'. Goddess Parvathy having realised the situation arrived at this place and took her place next to Lord Shiva and thus the God came to be known as Adi Kumbeswarar and the Goddess as Mankalanayaki.


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The Kumbam celebration in Sri Lanka is held only in Trincomalee. Sikh soldiers brought by the British to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) to construct the Trincomalee naval yard introduced the Kumbam festival to locals. Since then long after Indian Sikhs soldiers left the country Hindus in Trincomalee continue to celebrate it at the end of Navarathiri festival.

The first three days of Navarathiri is dedicated for Bravery by worshipping Goddess Thurgai. The second three days for Wealth by worshipping Goddess Lakshmi. The final three days for Education by worshipping Goddess Saraswathy. Wijeyathasami day is celebrated at the conclusion of Navarathiri which is an annual festival celebrated by Hindus across the world, especially in India and Sri Lanka.

On the Wijethasamy day, children who reach school going are taught alphabets of their mother tongue. Hindu schools organized special ceremonies to children who reached school going age to write alphabets of their mother tongue for the first time.

In addition students who desire to learn vocal carnatic music, Baratha Natyam dance and other musical instruments such as Violin, Veena, Miruthangam are enrolled in institutions that conduct these classes.

Hindus in Trincomalee town at the conclusion of annual Navarathiri (Nine auspicious nights) religious event celebrate the more than two hundred year old Kumbam festival with pomp and pageantry. Specially constructed "Kumbam" from Hindu temples in the district are taken in procession across the east port town throughout the night of Sunday.

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Hindu devotees receive Kumbams (silver pots decorated with margosa leaves and colored papers to form a tower upto eight to ten feet) which were carried by devotees who fasted for nine days of the Navarathiri.


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