Thiruvathirai (Aruthra Tharisanam) will be celebrated on 18th Dec'13
Arudra Darisanam, a festival dedicated to Lord Nataraja, is major event in the Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu. This festival is observed during the full moon night in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December).
This is a grand festival in which abhisheks are offered to Lord Nataraja and Sivakami, his consort. The rituals are held in the pre-dawn hours, when the moon is still shining brightly. Various ceremonies are held amid the holy chants in Sanskrit and Tamil. A grand procession is later taken through the streets.
Thiruvathira festival is also celebrated in Kerala, but for a different reason. It is more of a women festival in Kerala with women emulating Goddes parvati, who tries to get Shiva as her husband.
THIRUVATHIRAI KALI (MASHED FLOUR): Cendanar of Naukoor, a disciple of Paddinattu Adigal, used to eat only after feeding some Saiva devotees. Due to a constant bad weather he could not get together all the essentials for a proper meal. He had no option but to mix water with flour and prepare a mashed paste. Lord Siva understood his predicament. He wanted the people to know how sincere his devotee was to him. Therefore he disguised himself as a Siva devotee and visited Cendanar’s hut and enjoyed what was given to him as food. The temple attendants saw the premises scattered with the mashed paste the following morning. Inquiries led to an understanding of Cendanar’s piety and he was thereafter bestowed with all due respect. This incident took place in a Markali Thiruvathirai. This is why Thiruvathirai Kali forms an important prasad on this holy day.
How to celebrate Thiruvadhirai: On this auspicious day, unmarried women and girls should take oil bath and wear new clothes. Clean the house, decorate the pooja room by putting kolam and make the unmarried girls or children sit near the kolam and place a banana leaf and keep 1 ladle of thiruvadhirai kali along with thalagam, beetle leaves(Vetrilai), banana, coconut and do neivedhyam and seek the blessings of the God Lord Shiva.