A group of children in Kancheepuram are carrying on the tradition of reciting Tiruppavai and Tiruvembavai early in the morning in the month of Margazhi, defying the popular conception that Margazhi hymns are rendered by the elderly.
Margazhi fever has gripped over 100 children living in and around S.V.N. Pillai Street, Kancheepuram.
The children, some as young as four, get up around 4.30 a.m., finish their morning routines and assemble at Sri Murugar temple on their street at around 5.30 a.m.
While boys turn up with the traditional dhoti wrapped around their waist and sporting sacred ash on their forehead and chest, the girls dressed dress in colourful outfits.
They start off at the Murugan temple and proceed towards Sri Katchabeswarar temple, located on the eastern edge of their street, along the way reciting Tiruvembavai, Tirupalliyezhuchi and Shivapuranam composed by Saivite Saint Manickavasagar, as guided by ‘Othuvamoorthy’ Palani of Pillayarpalayam.
Generally, it takes them 75 to 90 minutes to get back to Sri Murugan temple where the bhajan ends.
According to the organisers, this Margazhi bhajan by children is a practice handed over to the younger generation by the previous generation.
“My father encouraged me to participate in this bhajan when I was young. He was introduced to this practice by his father and so on,” said Mr. Balu of S.V.N. Pillai Street, who claimed that the bhajan programme was launched some six decades ago.