On the day of the festival, devotees gather on the bank of a river close to the locality. After the ritual bath they put on the turmeric-coloured dresses in the traditional manner
and smear the religious symbol of ‘pattai’ or three-fingered horizontal white marks on the forehead, shoulders, arms and torso. The females apply the ‘pattai’ to the forehead only. A small lemon is tied to the loins
of each devotee. They now form themselves into a procession and leave the river bank and make for the temple by a pre-determined route. The ‘urvalam’ (procession) is headed by the officiating priest, who carries on
his head a decorated brass pot (‘karagam’) and dances with joy at his meeting with the Mother. He is preceded by a group of youths with short sticks in their hands which they strike together rhythmically while
another group provide the singing and music. This is called ‘kolaattam’. There is often a second group doing the ‘kummi’ by clapping their hands rhythmically. The young girls are clad beautifully in the traditional
‘paavaadai’. In the procession, individuals read out from ‘maariamman thaalaatu’ amidst shouts of ‘arogara’ (glory to God).
Slowly the procession reaches the temple yard where a pit generally 13 to 15 feet long and 5 feet broad, filled with glowing embers 6 inches deep has
been prepared. The priest performs a ritual ceremony first to ward off any evil spirit that may disturb the ‘theemithi’ and then he tosses the garland from his neck into the pit to seek permis
sion from the Mother to walk on her ‘saree’. satisfied, he first steps into the pit (‘kuzi’) amii chanting and shouts of ‘arogara’. He then sign to the
other devotees. One by one each devot walks barefoot on the ‘thee’ (fire) in single fi Very often a woman devotee will walk the smoi dering path with her child in her arms. It reported that Mother Draupadee spreads
out h ‘saree’ (vestment) over the glowing embers ai the devotee walks across the pit as on a woolli carpet. The ‘pit’ represents the ‘saree’ of tI ‘Amman’. In the case of Draupadee, the ‘Mah barata’ relates how
Duchadhana tried to undraj her at the bidding of Druyodhana and how Loi Krishna came to her rescue.