Ayyavazhi/Ayya Vaikunda Avataram
The Ayya Vaikunda Avataram is a festival celebrated by the followers of Ayyavazhi on the 20th day of the Tamil Month of Masi, the date on which the Ayyavazhi followers believe that Lord Vaikundar arose from the sea at Thiruchendur as the son of Mummorthies to destroy the evil spirit of Kali and transform the Kaliyukam into Dharma Yukam.
This is the only Ayyavazhi festival which is celebrates 'at a time' in all worship centres of Ayyavazhi on 19th Masi (3rd March), the day before the date of incarnation of Vaikundar.
A grand procession originates from Thiruchendur to Nagercoil on the 19th of Masi representing the way of Vaikundar after the Avataram to Detchanam, and another procession starts from Thiruvananthapuram to Nagercoil, on the same date representing the release of Lord Vaikundar from the Jail of Singarathoppe.
Both the Thiruchendur and Thiruvananthapuram processions unifies at Athalavilai. The 'Vaikunda Jyothi' is lighted on the top of a hillock Vaikunda malai at Athalavilai. Then the procession proceeds to Nagercoil. A religious conference is held there in Nagercoil. It is followed by cultural and religious programs etc. Ayyavazhi devotees from all over the nation stays here over the night.
On the next day on 20th of Masi, (4 th March) 'The Great Masi Procession' begins early in the morning from Nagercoil. This is a on-foot procession and people walk following the vahana, chanting Ayya 'Siva-siva Siva-siva Ara-kara Ara-kara' . The participants will hold a saffron flag on their hands. Decorated Elephants and horses participate in this procession. Hundreds of Vehicles follows the procession and the so the transport on Nagercoil-Kanyakumari Highway will be closed on that day. This is one of the largest festivals of the state which attracts a huge crowd beyond the state.
This day was announced as a holiday by the government of Tamil Nadu for the districts of Kanyakumari from ten years back and for Tirunelveli and Tuticorin from this year(2006).