Ayana means path. Utharayana is when the sun travels from south to north in a northward incline. Dakshinayana is when the sun moves southwards from north to south.
The six months Thai to Ani form utharayana, and Adi to Marghazhi dakshinayana. Utharayana with its long days is but one day for the immortals; and dakshinayana with its long nights one night.
Thai and Adi, as the start of their day and their night, acquire importance. Adi (July-August) is considered a special month for the Mother in her various manifestations.
Adi Pooram is said to be the day when the Mother gave darshan to deities like Sri Devi and Andal, and the day Uma attained womanhood. Hence the celebration of Adi Pooram as a grand festival for the Mother in temples. It is said that dakshinayana is ideal for worship of Shakti and utharayana for worship of Shiva. The offering of pulse sprouts on Adi Pooram day symbolizes Shakti’s engaging in creation on this day.
Andal, the only woman among the 12 vaishnavite devotees who composed Divya Prabhandham, is said to have been born on this day.
The Adi pooram festival is a major event at the Srirangam Sri Ranganath Temple as it is believed that Andal through her unwavering devotion became the wife of Sri Ranganath (Lord Vishnu). Another major event is the car festival of Sri Andal Temple at Srivilliputtur in Virudhunagar District.
Legend has it that a Vaishnava saint named Periyalwar of Srivilliputtur had no children. He prayed to Sri Ranganatha and Goddess Lakshmi for a child. Pleased with this ardent devotee, Goddess Lakshmi appeared as a child on a field in which Periyalwar was ploughing. Periyalwar gladly accepted this divine gift and this happened on a pooram day in the Aadi month.
Periyalwar continued with his devotion and used to make a garland with Tulsi leaves for Sri Ranganatha. Andal grew up to be a maiden and was in the habit of secretly wearing the Tusli garland meant for Sri Ranganatha. One day Periyalwar found this out and scolded her and took a fresh garland. But the fresh garland fell off from Sri Ranganatha’s neck and it continued so in spite of several attempts by Periyalwar. Finally, Lord Vishnu appeared before Periyalwar and said that he will only wear the garland worn by Andal as she is none other than Goddess Lakshmi.
Andal during her lifetime penned several verses singing the praise of Sri Ranganatha. Thiruppavai and the Nachiyar Thirumozhi are the famous compositions of Andal.
Perur Puranam stresses that worship of the Mother on this day yields immense benefit. Indeed, all four Fridays in Adi are ideal for worship of the Mother. There is special puja on these days in temples.
This Adi pooram is celebrated in grand manner in Srivalliputur, Srirangam and in many other places and it is celebrated for 10 days.
In Temples, all women offer Glass bangles to goddess and those bangles are distributed to all the ladies.
On this day people will read Lalitha Sahasranamam and Thiruppavai.