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Karadaiyan nonbu, for that lasting bond
Today is the birth of Panguni, the last month of the year. The sun moves into Meena rasi, and hence the month is referred to as Meena Maasam.
A number of festivals fall in this month. Among them the Karadaiyan nonbu , which falls on the first day of the month is an important one.
Generally, couples wish to be together forever. In this context, there is one story of eternal love, where a wife is said to have saved her husband from the jaws of death because of her intelligence and spontaneity. The story of this couple (Savithri and Satyavan) has been handed down over successive generations as a tribute to love, steadfastness and a woman’s determination to lead a happy life.
According to legend, Aswapathi, who ruled over Mathra kingdom had a beautiful and smart daughter. He named her Savithri. As he watched her grow into a strong and pretty woman, he worried about finding the right husband for her. One day, he called her to his side and told her she alone was the person to choose her husband. Savithri smiled and walked away.
Some weeks later she chanced upon a man while walking in her garden, and something about him made a deep impression on her. She approached her father and informed him of her decision to marry him. When the arrangements were underway, sage Narada appeared in Aswapathi’s court and said “You could have chosen a better man for your daughter. The man she has chosen, Satyavan, though from a royal background, has been defeated by enemies and hence lives in a forest as a wood cutter. Why do you want to go ahead with the alliance?” Aswapathi merely said, “It is what my daughter wants and that alone counts.”
Not ready to give up, Narada approached Savithri privately. “Satyavan is a good man, but he has only one more year to live in this world. Do not throw away your life too,” he pleaded. She merely smiled, walked away and got married to Satyavan. They lead a happy life and Savitri, who adapted easily to the simple life, prayed to Ambal every day, seeking Her blessings.
A year on, when the month of Panguni was born, she accompanied her husband as he left for the forest to chop wood. Yama, the God of death, arrived and looped his rope around Satyavan. Savithri fell at Yama’s feet and sought his blessings. “He could not stop himself from saying, “Deerga sumangali bhava (may you live with your husband as long as you are alive).” She quickly asked him how that could be, when He held her husband’s life in His hands.
The two then were engaged in a debate. Yama said, “I cannot give you what you want. Ask me for something else. Savitri said, “Bless me with a 100 sons.” Yama laughed and said, “Your mind is too sharp. You deserve a happy family life” and let go off Satyavan.
A successful woman has three traits: she is a mother when necessary, a wife when desired and a guru when required. Savithri personifies all that and her life is said to be a desirable one.
On Karadaiyan Nonbu, women pray for a long, happy married life, by offering adai and butter and tying the sacred thread around their neck. Adai signifies the toughness that all married couples experience in the marriage, while butter symbolises the smoothness with which they solve their disputes.
Unmarried girls too observe Karadaiyan non bu by praying for a husband who understands her strength and needs. This year, the ideal time to observe the nonbu is between 430 pm and 5 pm.
— The writer lectures on spirituality and devotion