Mari also known as Mariamman, Tamil word Amman means “Mother” which both means “Mother Mari” also called Mariamma is the South Indian Hindu goddess of rain. She is the main South Indian mother goddess is closely related with the Hindu goddesses Parvati and Durga as well as with her North Indian equivalent to goddess Shitaladevi.
Her worship mainly focuses to bringing rain and curing diseases like cholera, smallpox, and chicken pox. She is the main Tamil mother goddess, prime in the urban areas of Tamil Nadu.
There is a story about the origin of Mariamman, who is a wife of Thiruvalluvar, the Tamil poet who was an outcast. She caught smallpox and begged from house to house for food, fanning herself with leaves of the neem or margosa tree to keep the flies off her sores. She recovered and people worshipped her as the goddess of smallpox. To keep smallpox away, neem leaves are hung above the main entryways of South Indian homes.
Every year this occasion will be organized in the mid of April and this year also celebrated in the town of Bandel. The sacred devotees will gather near on the temple of Olaichonditola Mata, where they reached in their holy dress with the holy color of yellow one. Each one of them have the holy pasted garlic on their bodies. They perform in different aspects they want to choose to worship mother Mariamman. Many women and children carry a pot on their heads decorated with the goddess’s favourite leaves of the margosa tree. Young men and women carry similar pots but are followed by drummers and dance more wildly. Larger men and women carry pots of charcoal fire. Some put themselves through a special tribulation of having one of the sacred weapons, dagger, trident, or a spear, inserted through their cheeks or tongues.
There is a popular sacred term “Bel – Bel” used to encourage those sacred devotees specially to their closed ones shouted continuously on their ears. The “Bel” means the god of the earth, here it represents the mother Mariamman as the goddess of earth.