Once in every ten years, people at Navinipatti village in Madurai get together for the Pidiman festival. An 18-day festival to pay obeisance to Lord Aiyannar, considered the protector of the village, it is expected of the devotees to follow a rigid code of conduct, which bars them from having any non-vegetarian food. People cutting across castes and religions participate in this festival.
But this time, it was special for the Muslims. The festival coincided with Ramzan. And in spite of this, the Muslims gave the delicious biriyani a miss to stick to Aiyannar’s code. “We will have non-veg only after the festival,” S Kamaluddin, a college lecturer hailing from the village told Times of India.
During this festival, the women of the village do not wear bindi or flowers and only eat vegetarian food.
This year, nearly three lakh people came together to celebrate the festival and worship Lord Aiyannar.
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