The Thiruvathira festival falls on the asterism Thiruvathira in the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December-January) and this is also the longest night in a year. Literary and historical evidence in the form of stone inscriptions state that the festival has been celebrated on this day for more than 1500 years.
The origin of the festival is shrouded in obscurity. The people celebrate this festival upon age-old tradition and they do it with great joy and respect for the past. The Ardra Darshan celebrated in Tamil Nadu corresponds to Thiruvathira of Kerala. It is considered to be high auspicious to worship Siva and the devotees go to the temple before sunrise for 'darshan'. Apart from the worship in the Siva temple, there is very little celebration in the houses.
Tradition has it that Thiruvathira festival is celebrated in commemoration of the death of Kamadeva, the mythological God of love. According to another version Thiruvathira is the birth day of Lord Siva.