Karadaiyan Nonbu festival falls at the meeting point of the months Masi and Panguni. It is a vrata, observed by the married women for increasing the longevity of their husbands and by the unmarried women for seeking an ideal partner in life.
Karadaiyan Nonbu, otherwise known as Savitri Nonbu Vratam, is a ritual wherein women pray to Goddess Gowri or Parvathi for marital bliss, the longevity of husbands and prosperity of children. Suppose unmarried women observe this vow, they pray for a husband who will stay with them till the end and take care of them in every moment of their life, be it happiness or sorrow. Karadaiyan Nonbu is a Tamil festival and is also observed in the other Southern States like Andra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Karadai is the dish made of wild rice which is offered as neyvedhyam on this day that this nonbu has been named as Karadaiyan Nonbu.
Karadaiyan Nonbu is observed at the exact meeting point of the Tamil months Masi and Panguni, be it midnight, late night or mid-afternoon. Women observe fasting from the sunrise and break their fast at the time when Masi ends and Panguni starts. It is also the time when there is Meena Sankranti or Sankramanam, that is, when the Sun transits from Kumbha rasi to Meena rasi.
As mentioned above, Karadaiyan Nonbu fasting should be observed from the sunrise till the time Masi ends and Panguni starts. Karadai nonbu adai is the neivedhyam for the nonbu and it is prepared as a sweet with jaggery and also as a savoury with salt. At the time of the dawn of Panguni month, women pray to Goddess Gowri, meditate on Savitri, wear a yellow cotton thread around their neck and break their fast by eating the karadai with butter.
Savitri was the daughter of Arasapathi. She wanted to marry Satyavan who was living in the nearby forest. Her father was unwilling at first and budged in the end due to the persistence of Savitri. She liked Satyavan’s devotion to his parents and also knew through Narada Muni that Satyavan would meet his death in the next year and would not live anymore. Even then Savitri decided to marry Satyavan.
After marriage, Savitri came to know that her father- in- law was a king who was deposed and was living in the forest. She was taking care of the family, praying to Goddess Gowri and was offering durva grass and pepal leaves to the goddess.
She offered wild rice (kaara arisi) and tur dhal as neivedhyam to the deity. (That is why this nonbu is known as Karadaiyan Nonbu as women offer karadai made of wild rice as neivedhyam to Gowri.)
The next day, Savitri followed Satyavan in the forest. When he was felling a tree, Satyavan swooned and was on the verge of death. Savitri understood that it was time for him to die and Yama, the Lord of Death appeared there to wrest the life of Satyavan. As he was journeying with the soul of Satyavan, Savitri followed Yama who at first did not recognise the seriousness of her pursuit thinking that she would go back after some time.
But, Savitri persisted and the tricks of Yama to send her back were in vain. Appreciating her persistence and devotion to husband, Yama said that he would grant three boons to her, but, she should not ask for her husband’s life.
Well, the first boon was a son for the father of Savitri. The second one was reinstating her father- in -law as the king.
What was the third boon demanded by Savitri? She wanted to have children. Without Satyavan, this could not be done. Acknowledging her sharp brain and relentless aim to get her husband back, Yama granted the boon and also said that this is the gift for her prayer with karaarisi neyvedhyam to the Goddess. This is Karadaiyan Nombu story.
Karadaiyan Nonbu has the other names of Sowbagya Gowri Vratam or Gowri Tritiya Vratam in Andra Pradesh and Karnataka, Karva Chauth in North India, Jyesta Gowri Vrat in Maharashtra, Gangaur Vrat in Rajasthan, Jitiya Puja in Bihar, Vat Savitri Vrat in Bengal and Orissa.
Yes, leading the life together with the life partner without separation is the greatest marital bliss expected by a married woman and Karadaiyan Nombu fulfills this wish to the core. This can be the ideal wish of a woman who is expecting to get married and thus Savitri Vrat satisfies the aspirations of women for marital bliss to the greatest extent.