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Koothandavar Festival

Koothandavar Festival:

Koothandavar festival at Koovagam in Tamil Nadu plays out a tale of marriage and widowhood, all in a day.

  • Koothandavar festival takes place in Koovagam of Tamil Nadu.
  • It is the annual event, steeped in tradition, garners global attention for its unique celebration of the transgender identity.
  • In a Tamil version of the Mahabharata, a character called Aravan offered himself as sacrifice for the Pandavas’ triumph in war.
  • It is said he had a boon of marriage before his sacrifice but no woman wanted to marry him as it would mean widowhood.
  • It is said Lord Krishna married Aravan after taking the form of Mohini.
  • Lore has it that Lord Krishna grieved for Aravan as a widow.
  • The focal point of the festival, Lord Aravan’s sacrificical ritual.
  • On the 17th day of the ceremony, transwomen from far and wide congregate to wed Lord Aravan.