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How to celebrate Atla Taddi?

Dussehra festival is followed by Atla Taddi which is one of the important festivals celebrated by Telugu women in particular the young unmarried girls. Atla Taddi is celebrated on Aswayuja Bahula Tadiya i.e the 3rd day after the full moon day in the Hindu month of Aswayuja. The festival is also known by the names of 'Undralla Taddi',  'asoonyasayana vratam' and 'chandrodaya Umavratam'.

The festival is mainly aimed at blissful and long married life. Marriage is not only an important social event but also a sacred one as per Hinduism and every young Indian girl dreams of her married life. Hence, the young unmarried girls compulsorily celebrate the festival in view of getting a prosperous groom. The festival of Atla Taddi is very much similar to Karva Chauth - a festival celebrated by the married women in the North states of India.

'Atla Taddi' literally means the festival of 'atlu' or dosas (a crispy thinly spread pan cake with the dough made of a combination of rice and pulses) celebrated on the 'tadiya' day. 'Atlu' is a Telugu word which means dosa and 'taddi' is the shortened word for 'tadiya' or the 3rd day.  Basically 'atla taddi' is a traditional fun-filled festival with a spirit of freedom, lots of playing, singing songs, tasty foods and above all a romantic feeling.

Pooja Vidhanam

Pooja preparations start the previous night itself and you have to make all the necessary arrangements like mopping, cleaning and decorating the pooja mandapam with flowers and mamidi toranam (mango leaves) and also with muggulu / rangolis.

On the festival day, get up early in the morning before sunrise, finish your daily routine and compulsorily have a hair wash. Then have / eat 'saddulu' i.e meal which include boiled plain rice, boiled plain dal / lentils (mudda pappu), gongura pachchadi and freshly made yogurt. Finish 'saddulu' before sunrise and then observe 'upavasam' i.e fasting the whole day.

Spend the whole day with friends and relatives singing songs like 'atla thaddoi aratloi mudda pappoi mudatloi', playing swings hung on the tree branches and applying gorintaku / mehndi on your hands which is compulsory. After spending the whole day in this way, break your fast when the moon is visible after the sunset. However, in case it is cloudy, you need not wait for the moon to be visible but you can break your fast when it is dark.

In the evening make a small pasupu Vinayakudu (Ganesha idol made of turmeric paste) and perform pooja with astotram. Decorate Gowri Devi with red and yellow seasonal flowers, Tulasi dalam and tamalapakulu (betel leaves). Perform Gowri Devi pooja with ashtotram / namavali with devotion.  Use 'varipindi jyotulu' i.e, small cup shaped diyas made of rice flour and powdered sugar or jaggery. Prepare undrallu and offer as naivedyam.  Finally offer 10 'atlu' / dosas as naivedyam to Gowri Devi (it is 11 in some regions of the state), offer 'vayanam' consisting of 10 / 11 'atlu' to a muttaiduvu (married woman), tie a toram made of 'tamalapakulu' offered to Gowri Devi, with 10 / 11 knots to your wrist and then to the wrist of 'muttaiduvu'. Take her blessings. While giving 'vayanam' you should consider the married woman as Goddess Gowri Devi.

After the pooja is over, you can break your fast on seeing Moon in the night sky. You need to eat only atlu and a special sweet made of tapoica (arrowroot) powder called palatalikalu or a kheer type of sweet with arrowroot powder known as timmanam.

In this way, you need to perform the nomu for 10 years and then perform 'udyapana' after completing 10 years of the nomu.

For 'udyapana' you have to follow the same procedure and at the end give 'vayanam' to 10 married women. The 'vayanam' should consist of 10 atlu, dakshina (optional), nalla pusalu (small black beads) preferably tied into a chain, pasupu (turmeric powder), kumkuma (vermilion) and tambulam.

Cultural significance

Basically the festival is celebrated by young girls of marriagable age for getting a suitable / prospective groom. Girls above 5 years of age are eligible to start the festival. According to Puranas (the ancient Hindu scriptures), Goddess Parvati Devi has performed this vratam and got married to Lord Shiva.

Due to drastic change in cultural life, the festival is gradually losing its significance. Basically woman plays a key role in the welfare of the society. When a woman leads a happy, blissful and prosperous married life, her contribution would be good towards the making of a welfare society. So, it is important for a woman to get a husband who understands her feelings and at the same time cares for her.

Date:  October 7' 2017. (Saturday).

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