People and Culture of Madurai has a strong bearing upon its past. The kingdoms that ruled Madurai have left an indelible mark on the culture of the city.
Madurai is one of the most populated cities of Tamil Nadu. Furthermore, most of the people living in Madurai are Hindus, though Muslims and Christians also live there. Among the languages spoken by the people of the city are Tamil, Saurashtra and English.
A number of festivals are a part of the people and culture in Madurai. In fact, these festivals form an integral part of the social structure of the city. Among the festival that form a part of the people and culture of Madurai are:
Pongal – Pongal is celebrated in January to pay tribute to the Sun God. It is observed for three days, namely Bogi, Pongal and Mattu Pongal.
Chithirai Festival – Chithirai Festival is celebrated between the months of April and May. According to the legend, Lord Shiva came to attend the marriage ceremony of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar.
Float Festival – Float festival is celebrated on the full moon night between the months of January and February. On this occasion, the images of Lord Sundaresa and Goddess Meenakshi are taken out of the Meenakshi Temple in a huge procession.
Besides these festivals, we also come across a number of other festivals in Madurai. Some of them are Festival of Cradle, Jallikattu, Dance Festival, Navarathri Festival and Avanimoolam Festival.
Moreover, art and crafts of the city also form an important part of the people and culture at Madurai. The city is famous for its silk saris. Besides, Madurai is also known for its sandalwood carvings and cotton handloom.
They are known for their hospitable and warm nature. They are known to be ardent worshipers of Lord Shiva. They are used to simple living and are known to be very hardworking. Their official language is Tamil. They are very traditional and are known to cling to their roots. Art and crafts form an important part of their lives. They take special interest in various performing arts such as drama, dance and music.
The Madurai people generally have a dark complexion and are said to have been descendants of the Dravidian race. The people of Madurai are also known for their intellectual bent of mind. They have a great sense of togetherness and solidarity amongst themselves. They are not used to a very fast lifestyle. The rural section of the Madurai society takes to farming and making of pottery and clay utensils.
Madurai crafts are very famous all over India. Madurai art and crafts reflect the rich cultural tradition of this city. Tourists from various parts of the country are attracted towards the city due to its rich art and craft. Some of the major crafts practiced in Madurai are weaving and spinning. The city has a well -developed cotton textile industry, which provides employment to the inhabitants. Embroidery and dyeing are also practiced in this city, which is situated in the southern part of Tamil Nadu.
Art and craft of Madurai is practiced as a full-fledged profession by the artisans and craftsmen of the city. Many art and crafts fairs are held within the city, which display a wide variety of ethnic and traditional goods. There are various institutes where crafts are taught in great detail to the respective students. One of the eminent institutes of Madurai art and crafts is Madras Craft Foundation Institute.
The practice of arts and craft is highly encouraged by the state government. It is also helping the tourism industry to prosper. Every year a multitude of these products are sold and in the recent times their demand in the international market has increased manifold. The handicrafts industries are increasing by the day as the demand of traditional goods are increasing in the Indian market.