It is a tradition to sing the Pancharatna Kritis, the five popular kritis composed by Sri Thyagaraja Swamy. Several singers get together and sing along in a chorus, and it forms a great melody.
The Pancharatna kritis are written in praise of his deity, Lord Rama. They are set in Adi Talam and each raga (tune) represents the mood of the song and the meaning of its lyrics. They are actually set in the style of a Ragam Tanam Pallavi (RTP) with the charanas (stanzas) substituting for the kalpana swaras (improvisatory passages) in the pallavi section of the RTP.
The Pancharatna Kritis are:
Jagadananda Karaka - Raga Naata
Dudukugala - Raga Gaula
Sadhinchene - Raga Arabhi
Kanakana Ruchira - Raga Varali
Endaro Mahanubhavulu - Raga Sri
Uthsava Sampradaya Krithis
Thyagaraja. A man whose soul was devotion, breath, Rama and life, music. More than 200 years ago, Thyagaraja gave a definite shape to Carnatic music, as he lived the pious life of a ritual mendictant (unchha vritti), chanting the name of Rama. His knowledge of the various sastras including that of music, astrology, horology and vedas, seeped into these devotional songs unconsciously giving them layered riches for those able to mine them. For Thyagaraja, Rama was all and all was Rama. He did sing of Siva, Tripurasundari, Vinayaka, Narada, Narasimha, Anjeneya, Sita, Tulasi, Garutam, Samudra and most fulfilling of all avatars, Krishna. But these were only the various manifestations of the all pervasive Rama.
One word about the genre, utsava sampradaya krithis. Totaly there are 27 such songs and they deal with various rituals associated with the traditional models of devotion(pooja vidhi). Musically, utsava sampradaya krithis can be divided into two kinds, Ekadhatu and Dwidhatu. In Ekadhatu the refrain(pallvi) and the following stanzas(charanam) have then same tune. In Dwidhatu they are structured differently. All these songs have, generally, simplicitly as the key_note enabling all the devotees present with little or no muscial training to join in chorus. Finally these are songs that, help spread the joy not only of music but of serving and singing the praise of the Supreme Being.