Hundreds of people attended a fishing festival conducted in Melathaniyam in the Ponnamaravathi block of Pudukkottai for the first time in almost a decade.
The event could not be held for the previous years due to a lack of water in the lake. The festival was held with about 3,000 people in attendance after two years of epidemic and lockdowns.
The festival was inaugurated at 4.30 a.m. by village panchayat president Murugesan and other dignitaries. Men, women, and children flocked to the lake, each with their own set of fishing gear.
According to Murugesan, the event takes place in the Tamil calendar month of Chithirai, which is the first month. The celebration takes place in the summer, when the lake’s water levels begin to recede and the lake is teeming with fish.
Water fills the lake during the Thai, Masi, and Panguni months, and fish breed
The water level begins to drop after Chithirai As a result, the festival is conducted at this time, and the villagers try to capture as many fish as they can “Murugesan stated During the month of thai, masi and panguni water level fills the lake and fish breed
The fish caught during the event is not sold, but instead cooked and consumed. The Public Works Department owns this lake in Melathaniyam, and selling fish is prohibited at all times of the year. The catch is regarded sacred because it is part of a festival, which is another reason for avoiding selling it.
Kadamban, who has attended multiple fishing festivals throughout his life, claims that the festival began during the Thondaiman era in the region. “At the time, Pudukkottai was a bleak wasteland. People were asked to build lakes in order to provide labour for them, and they were paid for it. These lakes and tanks were open to the public. Fish could be caught by anyone. The concept of equality was lost when people began fishing at any time. As a result, the monarchs decided to let the fish develop and hold a festival in their honour “Kadamban said.
A true celebration of social equality
Another unusual aspect of this celebration is that participants are free to catch fish with anything they have on hand. A person’s choice of equipment ranges from nets to bare hands.
“This event is also a time when people from various walks of life, social classes, and income levels come together to catch fish. It is a true celebration of social equality “Kadamban went on to say.