In Kerala, South India, Thiruvathira is known as a women’s festival in that the day is meant for women to pray and perform for the long life of their husbands, or if they are unmarried, to get a good husband.
The legend has it that it was on this day that the love-god, Kamadeva, who was turned to ashes by an angry Lord Siva (shiva), was restored to life by him on the request of his wife Rati.
The festival falls between mid December and mid January, on the day of the asterism Thiruvathira as per the Malayalam calendar. There are dances and other programs during much of the night and Thiruvathirakkali is a form of dance performed by groups of women moving in circles.
Performers of Thiruvathirakali will be clad in the traditional Kerala gold-bordered sari, worn in two pieces and will have loops of jasmine flowers woven into their hair.