Panguni Uthiram is a very special occasion for Hindus. It falls in the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April), when the moon will be transiting in the Uttara Phalguni or Uthiram star. This always happens on a Pournami or full moon day in Panguni month.
Many divine marriages are believed to have taken place on this day, so marriage ceremonies for those deities will be held at various temples on Panguni Uthiram. These include marriage rituals for Muruga and Valli Deivanai, Shiva and Parvati, Rama and Sita, Krishna and Radha, etc. It is the custom for devotees to observe vrat/fast and visit temples on this sacred occasion.
Panguni Uthiram was also the day when Lord Shiva restored Manmadha’s (god of love) life. The Skandapurana talks about Manmadha Dahanam. Manmadha or Kama Deva disturbed Lord Shiva when he was in deep meditation. Shiva became furious and opened his third eye. Kama turned into ashes instantly. His wife, Rati, begged Shiva to restore her husband to life. Shiva took pity on her and brought him back to life.
Panguni Uthiram was also the day when Rama got married to Sita, and Lord Ayyappa was born on earth. On this day, another celestial wedding occurred between Murugan and Deivanai. In Shiva temples, Panguni Uthiram is celebrated as the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. Therefore, this day has great importance in Hinduism.
The Puranas also mention that Goddess Mahalakshmi incarnated on this day. She arose from the depths of the Milky Ocean when it was churned by the Gods and Demons. The day is also called Mahalakshmi Jayanthi.
Many Hindu devotees observe a fast on this day. They also carry Pal Kudam / Kavadi, as per vows they had made earlier, and make a pilgrimage to Murugan temples on foot. The pilgrimage by foot is called pada yatra. Some devotees are known to cover one hundred kilometers over three or four days and nights. They make it a point to visit the Arupadai Veedu or six temples dedicated to Muruga worship.
Muruga is the chief deity who is worshipped on this day. He is the warrior god and younger son of Parvati and Shiva. In Tamil Nadu, this festival is celebrated with great gusto and fervor in the hill temple of Palani, where Muruga is in the form of a youth leading an ascetic life.
In Muruga temples, there will be grand marriage ceremonies for Muruga and Deivanai. There will be a golden car festival and float festivals, too.
Women offer refreshing drinks like buttermilk or food to devotees. The ten-day Panguni Festival concludes on the full moon day in Panguni with the Thirukalyanam or celestial marriage of Muruga and Valli. Ayyappa temples in Kerala and Tamil Nadu also celebrate Ayyappa Jayanthi (the birth anniversary of Lord Ayyappa).
Panguni Uthiram Fast Vidhi
On Panguni Uthiram day, the devotee has to wake up early in the morning and have a bath. After cleaning the Pooja area, they should arrange Murugan’s picture or idol on it and decorate it. Then they need to light a lamp, after which they can offer Poojas to Muruga. During the Pooja, they can chant Skanda Shasti Kavacham, Subramanya Kavacham, or any other Mantras for Muruga.
The Pooja samagri or materials will include coconut, fruits, nuts, betel leaves, flowers, turmeric rice, and Prasad. Some of the Neivedya dishes or offerings for Muruga that are prepared on this day are Paruppu Payasam or Sweet Pongal. Once the Pooja is over, one can consume the Prasad. If the devotee wants, they can observe a strict fast for the whole day and avoid even fruits, provided their health permits it. In the evening, one can go to the temple and worship Muruga, Shiva, and Vishnu to invoke their blessings.
Benefits of Panguni Uthiram Fasting
Observing the Panguni Uthiram fast can remove obstacles to success and bestow prosperity and happiness.
Panguni Uthiram Vrat is a very important fast for Lord Muruga. The Scriptures claim that if one observes this fast for 48 years, they can attain Moksha and reach heaven. Many people observe this fast to remove obstacles to marriage.
It is an auspicious day to rectify problems in relationships. Those who get married on this day will be blessed with happiness and prosperity.
In 2022, Panguni Uthiram falls on March 18.