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Aravan’s wedding

Koovagam transgender festival

Aravan’s wedding is a festival of transgender and transvestite individuals which takes place in the Tamil month of Chitrai (April/May) in the village of Koovagam in Tamil Nadu, India. It is held at the Koothandavar Temple dedicated to Aravan (Koothandavar). The participants marry the Lord Koothandavar, thus reenacting an ancient myth of Lord Vishnu/Krishna who married him having taken the female form. According to myth, Aravan had to sacrifice himself the next day to help his clan win in battle, so the day after the wedding all brides mourn his death through ritualistic dances and by breaking their bangles.

The festival also serves as a platform to create awareness for transgender discrimination and prejudice which still exist in mainstream society, not limited to India.

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