Tamil Nadu is one of the states in south India that has been able to preserve its tradition, and you can get a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of this state during its festivals. It is said that a fortnight doesn’t pass in Tamil Nadu without festivities, especially during the celebration of umpteen festivals. Different parts of Tamil Nadu celebrate all the festivals throughout the year with great enthusiasm. This article helps you get a glimpse into the beautiful and colourful culture and festivals of Tamil Nadu, which you should experience at least once.

Popular Festivals Celebrated in Tamil Nadu:

The vibrant culture and age-old traditions of Tamil Nadu are represented in festivals beautifully. Let us scroll down this article to know more about the festivals and how they are celebrated.

1. Pongal:

Pongal celebrates the agricultural harvest and is one of the most memorable festivals in Tamil Nadu. During this festival, cows, Lord Indra, and the Sun god are worshipped, paying tribute. Decorations with organic material, new clothes, many rituals exclusive to this time of the year, and festive food are the highlights of this festival. Pongal is celebrated for four days in Tamil Nadu, and people of this state celebrate this festival by cherishing their crops, preparing Pongal, and distributing the harvested sugarcane.

  • Highlights: Jallikattu is celebrated on the third day of Pongal.
  • When: January.
  • Where: All over the state.
  • Duration of Festival: Four days.

2. Natyanjali:

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The people of Tamil Nadu celebrate the importance of classical dances and music beautifully in a Natyanjali dance festival. This dance festival is the epitome of an offering to the Lord of dance Nataraja. Ananda Tandava is considered the driving force for art and dance, and Lord Nataraja is idolized across the globe. The highlight of this festival is that performers worldwide perform dance forms like Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, Pung Cholam, and Odissi, marking their presence.

  • Highlights: Performances of various classical dance styles by people from all over the world.
  • When: February-March.
  • Where: Chennai, Thirunallar, Mayavaram, Kumbakonam, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Thiruvanaikoil.
  • Duration of Festival: Five days.

3. Karthigai Deepam:

Karthigai deepam, also called the Festival of Lights, is celebrated in the month of Karthigai as per the Tamil calendar, which falls from November to mid-December. This festival depicts the welcoming of the good things, keeps away bad things from our lives, and is celebrated for ten days. People of this state mark light a huge fire on the top of the hill to mark the appearance of Lord Shiva in the Thiruvannamalai hills. And, People chant Annamalaiyarku Arohara when they burn a massive fire with camphor and ghee. People meet their relatives during this festival by wearing new clothes and enjoying themselves.

  • Highlights: The massive fire lit at the top of Thiruvannamalai hills.
  • When: November to Mid-December.
  • Where: All over the state.
  • Duration of Festival: Ten days.

See Also: Top Beaches in Tamil Nadu You Must Visit

4. Music & Dance Festival Chennai:

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If you want to experience the budding and famous artists showcasing their talents, the Chennai music and dance festival is a perfect choice. People’s minds are captivated by the ballistic dance moves and rejuvenating sound of music. People from all over the world take part to witness this beautiful journey. Different venues throughout Chennai hold this dance and music festival dedicated to south Indian dance and music.

  • Highlights: People from different parts of south India perform South Indian classical dance and music.
  • When: Mid-December to Mid-January.
  • Where: Chennai.
  • Duration of Festival: One month.

5. Vinayaka Chathurthi:

Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the famous festivals celebrated all over India with great pomp and enthusiasm. People clean their houses before the commencement of the festival and bring the idol of Lord Ganesha home. Temples are beautifully decorated, and special prayers are offered to the deity. Kozhakattai-a sweet dish, rice flour dumplings are some of the specialities cooked during this festival.

  • Highlights: Large pandals of Ganesha
  • When: September.
  • Where: All over the state.
  • Duration of Festival: Nine days.

6. Navaratri:

Navratri is yet another famous festival celebrated all over the country with reverence. The first three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the next three days to Goddess Durga, and the last three days to Saraswati in Tamil Nadu. Many music clubs and sabhas are conducted along with music and dance performances in the temples. In addition, the Pulikai dance is performed in several villages of South Tamil Nadu. Another unique part of Navratri in Tamil Nadu is golu/kolu dolls on the wooden steps.

  • Highlights: Spiritual music and dance performances, Rituals, and Kolu toys.
  • When: October.
  • Where: All over the state.
  • Duration of Festival: Nine days.

See Also: Best Pilgrimage Sites in Tamil Nadu

7. Deepavali:

Deepawali, the festival of lights, lasts for five days and is usually celebrated in October or November in Tamil Nadu. Although most of India celebrates Deepawali on Amavasya, the people of Tamil Nadu celebrate this festival during the Brahma muhurta when Chaturdashi tithi prevails. This celebration either comes on the day of Deepawali or a day before the main event.

  • Highlights: Firecrackers filled in the skies and brightly lit houses.
  • When: October or November.
  • Where: All over the state.
  • Duration of Festival: Five days.

8. Thaipusam:

Thaipusam is the festival celebrated to commemorate the birth of Lord Subramaniam, the younger son of Lord Shiva in Tamil Nadu. Devotees wearing clothes like a person living on alms will take kavadi, which has rice, milk, and other things presented to the Lord as an offering. However, some devotees prefer walking to the Temple barefoot. This is also a day people pray to the Lord for a wish and keep their vows once they get their wish.

  • Highlights: Devotees bearing kavadis to offer to the Lord, Piercing of skin and tongue.
  • When: January.
  • Where: All over the state.
  • Duration of Festival: Ten days.

9. Panguni Uthiram:

Panguni Uthiram festival is celebrated by the devotees of Murugan and Shiva devotees, and devotees flock in hundreds to all the Murugan temples to witness the celebration. The festivities last for 13 days, and the worship of the earth element, Prithvi lingam of Ekambareswarar temple at Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, marks a special significance. It is also a day that witnessed many divine marriages as the Panguni nakshatra coincides with a full moon.

  • Highlights: The procession of the deity, devotees carrying the kavadi.
  • When: March-April.
  • Where: Ekambareswarar temple at Kanchipuram..
  • Duration of Festival: 13 days.

10. Saraswathi Pooja:

Saraswathi Pooja embeds the worship of instruments and celebrates the victory of good over evil. On this day, along with the instruments and tools, the Goddess of arts, wisdom, and literature Saraswati is worshipped. This pooja is celebrated on the ninth day of the Navrathri, where Ayudha/ Astra puja is conducted. This festival helps us understand the importance of tools and how they help us achieve our goals.

  • Highlights: Puja of all the instruments and Goddess Saraswati.
  • When: October.
  • Where: All over the state.
  • Duration of Festival: One day.

11. Chitri Rai Festival:

Celebrated in April or May, the Chitri Rai festival is a beautiful reenactment of the wedding of Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Meenakshi. The destination of this event is the Meenakshi temple in Madurai. This festival is celebrated in the Tamil month of Chitrai and is two-week long.

  • Highlights: The wedding of Lord Sundareswaeae and Goddess Meenakshi.
  • When: April-May.
  • Where: Madhurai.
  • Duration of Festival: Two weeks.

12. Mahamaham Festival:

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Mahamaham festival is celebrated in a small town called Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu and is celebrated once in 12 years. People from all over the country come to take a dip in the mahamaham tank to eliminate their sins. Surrounded by shrines and wells, the tank is 6.2 acres. This festival starts with praying in the Temple, dipping in the 20 wells, visiting the Kumbeswarar temple, and then dipping in the holy tank. Finally, a dip in the River Cauvery ends the process.

  • Highlights: The 6.2 acres sacred dipping tank.
  • When: February to March.
  • Where: Kumbakonam.
  • Duration of Festival: Ten days.

See Also: Incredibly Beautiful Waterfalls of Tamil Nadu

13. Puthandu (Tamil New Year):

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Tamil new year, also called Puthandi, is the first month of the Tamil calendar in mid-April. The beautiful kolams at the entrance of their houses mark the morning of Puthandu. Another unique feature of this festival is the bloom of the flowers of the Neem tree and mangoes hanging from the tree. People prepare Maanga pachadi with neem flowers, jaggery, and mangoes, wear new clothes and eat delicious food.

  • Highlights: Visit the Kanni temple, and prepare for Maanga pachadi.
  • When: Mid-April.
  • Where: All over the state.
  • Duration of Festival: One day.

14. Tyagaraja Aradhana:

Tyagaraja Aradhana is a festival celebrated in Thiruvaiyaru town in the district of Thanjavur in honour of the saint Tyagaraja, near his Samadhi. Saint Thyagaraja is a famous music composer and is one of the three music trinity. It is considered one of the country’s biggest music festivals that welcomes people who love music from all over. This festival is celebrated globally and promotes Carnatic classical music.

  • Highlights: Famous classical singers from all over south India come and perform Pancharatna keerthanas.
  • When: January.
  • Where: Thiruvaiyaru.
  • Duration of Festival: Two days.

The Tamil Nadu festivals keep the ancient traditions alive as they are vibrant and full of life. From the traditional and extravagant way of celebrating the Tamil new year to the famous harvest festivals, you can experience them all. If you are planning to visit Tamil Nadu, plan your trip around the time of the festivals to witness the celebrations. Don’t forget to let us know if you found this article helpful!


1. What are the different dance forms of Tamil Nadu?

Ans: Bharatnatyam is the dance of Tamil Nadu. Some of the other dance forms popular in Tamil Nadu are:

  • Bamber dance.
  • Bommalattam.
  • Chakkai attam.
  • Devaraattam.
  • Kai silambu attam.
  • Kolattam.
  • Kaman pandigai.

2. What are the famous cuisines of Tamil Nadu?

Ans: The following are the popular cuisines available in Tamilnadu you must try:

  • Puliodarai.
  • Paruppu payasam.
  • Sambar.
  • Rasam.
  • Mutton Kola urundai.
  • Filter kaapi.
  • Chicken Chettinad.
  • Pollachi nandu fry.

3. What languages are spoken in Tamil Nadu?

Ans: The official state language that most people speak is Tamil. Other Dravidian languages spoken in Tamilnadu are Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada.


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