Thiruvathira Fesival, the Birth Day of Lord Siva
The asterism Aridra or Thiruvathira ( Alpha Orionis ) coincides with Full Moon and we have the Festival Of Thiruvathira in Dhanus ( sidereal Sagittarius ), hailed by some as the Birth Day of the Lord ! ( Today, 4th Jan, Moon in Aridra opposes the Sun in sidereal Sagittarius ).
Thiruvathira is celebrated in Kerala and T N. In T N, the day is known as Ardra Darshan.
This is the day when Lord Shiva burnt the God of Love, Kama Deva to ashes, implying the symbolism that the Yogi should burn up Eros or Kama, the lust that binds man to the sublunar world, in order to achieve Self Actualisation.
Thiruvathira is celebrated especially by the womenfolk. At night time, women perform Thiruvathira Kali or Kaikotti Kali. Around a lighted lamp, they stand in a circle and perform this dance.
The ravishing Kerala
maidens, play this dance, in order to gain a great husband. Like Parvathy's
dance to gain Lord Shiva !
It is believed that, in order to keep Lord Shiva awake, after He drank poison, Mother Parvathi and Her friends danced this glorious dance.
In another version, the Gopis took vows to get Lord Krishna as their husband and their dance became the divine Athira Dance !
Long live different versions !
In another version, Rathi prayed to the Lord to restore Kamadeva and Lord Shiva restored him to life. And Rathi danced in ecstasy and that dance became Thiruvathira ! That is why it is said that the Lord gave Salvation to both Rathi and Parvathy on this glorious day!
Athira Nalithu Shambhuvinte
Sree Parvathikkum Rathikkum innu
Shankaran Prathyaksha Moksham nalki
Athira is the Birthstar
Of Love Immortal
Self Actualisation He gave today
To Rathi and Parvathi !
Similar to Thiruvathira in Kerala, in T N, Ardra Darshanam is celebrated. Chidambaram in TN is one of most celebrated Siva shrines. The Cosmic Dancer ( " The Dancing Siva is the dancing Universe - Capra" ) revealed the secrets of his Dance here to his devotee, Nandana.
Chidambaram Full Moon
Aridra or Thiruvathira or Betelgeuse
When Life becomes complex, there is no other alternative but to take refuge in the Unknown !
O Unknown ( Fate ) show Thy hand
Ourselves we do not owe
What is decreed must be
And be this so !
Ardra constellation ( Sanskrit ) became Athira in Malayalam and the Athira Songs are songs praising the Lord Shiva,
His consort and the infant Ganesh.
Here are some famous Athira songs, in Sanskritised Malayalam.
More info at http://k.guruvayur4u.com/html/onam.htm
28 days before Ardra or Athira
In the solar Month Dhanu
This Vrata begins
First 14 days after noon
Next 14 days after dusk
Athira Dance is played
With restrictions on food
With mental control
Purify body and mind !