Annabhishekam Ritual, or Annabhishegam Festival, is an important ritual held in Lord Shiva Temples in
South India, especially in Tamil Nadu. Annabhishekam 2016 date is October 16. The ritual, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is performed for food security through prosperity of the farmland and increase in agricultural produce. It is usually performed after a harvest season and involves offering cooked rice to Lord Shiva.
The rice is cooked in the temple premises and then it is carried around the temple. Priests chant mantras and musical instruments like naadaswaram, drum and cymbal are sounded. The cooked rice is then used to cover the Shivling and it is referred as Anna Linga.
Various different types of rice preparations like pongal, curd rice, Shakara pongal, tamarind rice, sesame rice, payasam and other sweets from freshly harvested rice are prepared and offered to Lord Shiva on the day. The food is then shared by people and is also given to domesticated animals and birds.
The ritual is usually performed on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Aipassi (October - November).