Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Kaarthigai Deepam

Kaarthigai Deepam is a festival celebrated in the tamil month Kaarthigai. Thiru Kaarthigai occurs on the full moon day of Karthigai month. The interesting part of this function is that people lit lot of lamps in their homes. The lamps are also placed outside the houses and the entire town looks pleasant in the evening. This festival is most significant for Lord Muruga and Lord Siva.


Since the festival is celebrated in the evening, we have time in the morning for the preparation. Elders in my family insist on lighting all the lamps in house including those we have in silver. Most people celebrate this Karthigai deepam festival on the same day when Tiruvannamali deepam is also lit. Kids at home helps to clean the lamps, apply sandal and kumkum, place the wick and pour oil. All these are completed by noon. Elders prepare Pori urundai in the morning itself after taking bath. This pori urundai is not preferred to be made at home during the other months. While preparing the urudai, initially two small Paruppu thengai are prepared and placed aside. My MIL used to prepare Nel pori urundai as well. Payasam, appam, Ulundu vadai are prepared for Neivedyam. Few people also prepare adai on this day. People from Tirunelveli as native do not prepare Urundai, they just mix the Pori with Vella paagu and keep it loose.

Ladies decorate house with Maakolam. All rooms in the house are lit with lamp and electrical lights in the evening. None of the room is left dark including bath rooms. Elders are specific about completing the pooja before 6 PM in the evening and lit lamps by 6'o clock without delay. Married ladies wear Madisar saree while liting the lamps. Agal Vilakku made of mud is most importantly used on this day. It is a tradition that we buy few new lamps every year. Women who are recently married and for whom it is Thalai Kaarthigai celebrate this ritual with special efforts. Since this is the first time for them in their in laws house, they are careful about learning the rituals followed in their home. My mom used to get new dress for us on Kaarthigai.

Neivedyam is offered to god along with Betal Leaves & Nuts, Fruits, Coconut and the Neivedhyam prepared at home . Then the lamps are placed both inside and outside the house.

During this month, we lit minimum 1 lamp in our entrance from day 1. This continues till the last day of the month.

Kids also keep a portion of the crackers & Sparkles purchased during Diwali and celebrate kaarthigai.

This festival continues for 3 days. The last day is called as Kuppai Kaarthigai. Brothers used to gift their sisters.

Celebrate Kaarthigai with your family and live our traditions....


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Navarathri/Golu

Navarathri is a very interesting festival and celebrated during the month of Purattasi. North Indians Celebrate this Festival as Dasara. We make lot of friends during this festival especially, when we move to a new locality. Women celebrate this occasion with a great level of devotion to goddess. The most interesting part of this festival is the golu decorated with lot of dolls depicting historical events, idols of god, themes such as marriage, cricket, park etc; This also depicts our culture.



In my In-laws family we do not have the practice of golu. The picture of golu was shared by Krithika.

Women perform Pooja on all 9 days of the festival. Each day has one significance. People also conduct Parayanam of Lalitha Sahasranamam, Durga Sahasranamam during this period.
Women also undergo fasting and the food is no onion no garlic on all 9 days.

The day we prepare for Navarathri is on the day of Amavasai in the month of Purattasi. People start setting the steps to place the idols and golu. This year Purattasi Amavasai fals on 30 Sep and we have to start with our work on that day and could finish the decorations by end of day or by next day. Day 1 of Navarathri falls on 2 Oct and ends on 10 Oct which we celebrate as Saraswathi Poojai. The next day is Vijayadasami. The first item is the Kalasam that is prepared and kept in Golu. The next idol would be Vinayagar followed by other idols of god. The idols of Gurus are kept beneath the idols of god. The Kalasam is not kept in few families. The number of steps is usually in odd numbers. Few people used to place the Amman Mugam we use for Varalakshmi nonbu.

Ashtalakshmi set, Dhasavadharam set, Marappachi Bommai, Chettiar Bommai with Shops are few commonly known and sort of must for the golu. One of my friends follow themes for each Navarathri festival which is quite interesting. Every year we ensure to buy at least one new Idol for the Golu. Idols that are used by our grand parents form a very significant place in the golu. The Dhasavadharam set should be arranged in the proper order which is usually a challenging one. The order goes like this.
1. Macha avadharam 2. Koorma Avadharam 3. Varaga Avadharam 4. Narasimha Avardharam 5. Vamana Avadharam 6. Parasurama Avadharam 7. Rama Avadharam 8. Balaramar Avadharam 9. Krishna Avadharam 10. Kalki Avadharam

Special lighting's are used to decorate the golu. On all evenings guests are invited to our homes to get the blessings of goddess and to receive Manjal kumkum. We prepare one variety of sundal every day to offer to offer to goddess and to issue to guests. Ellu Podi (Seasame Podi) is prepared on Saturday and Puttu on Friday for offering. Sweets are also prepared daily in the morning as offering to goddess at the end of Pooja. Make use of Jeyashri's kitchen recipes to celebrate Navarathri with awesome sweets and sundal.

Offering dress and Manjal Kumkum to young girls who is yet to attain Puberty is considered as very auspicious during these 9 days.

Nowadays people started providing gifts that includes small bags, purse, blouse bits etc; of their choice.

The small girls in the families are enthusiastically involved to invite the neighbors. They wear silk skirts, dress traditionally and take a small box of kumkum to offer and invite the neighbors.

During my child hood days myself and my sister prepare in advance for the park since few greens are required to make it more realistic. We grow small tiny plants few days in advance and place it for the park. Small pool is also used in the park.

We used to draw colorful kolams in my house to decorate and to invite everyone's attention. Golu competitions are also conducted to encourage the participation. Songs on Goddess also add flavor and sung by kids, women and invitees of golu.

Every day in the night after issuing Manjal kumkum to the invitees we take Aarthi to end the day's event.

Wish you all a very happy Navarathri Celebrations...





Saturday, 3 September 2016

Ganesha Chathurthi/Vinayagar Chathurthi

Vinayagar /Pillaiyar Chathurthi is a very interesting festival for all of us. The reason being, we all love Vinayagar as first god to worship during all functions we conduct at home and at temples. Elders used to offer their prayers to Pillaiyar whenever they start a new/important work.

This festival is celebrated by all Hindus across India. Ganesh Chathurthi is celebrated as the Birthday of Lord Ganesha. The long trunk of Lord Ganesha is favorite for kids. I have heard lot of people who collect Ganesha Idols as their hobby and they love doing it.

I am happy to explain the traditional way of Celebrating Vinayagar Chathurthi at our home.

Elders in my family insist upon buying the Vinayagar Idol made of clay on the day of this festival in the morning. This Idol is usually not painted and in bright colours those days. Now we could see the idols in Nice bright colours in shops few days before the Festival. We also buy erukkam poo (Crown Flower) maalai, Arukampul (Bermuda grass) maalai and a flower garland to offer to Lord Ganesha.

While bringing in the Ganesha Idol, Aarthi is taken to invite Lord to our house.

Ladies at home place a wooden stool in the Pooja room while the gents go to buy the properties required for the Pooja. Maakolam is drawn on the stool (manai palagai). Vinayagar Idol is place on the stool facing east/west/north and not facing south. Decorate the idol by applying Sandal, kumkum on the forehead. Wear a Poonal (sacred thread) to Lord Ganesha. Place a 1 rupee coin on the thoppul of the Idol. Then wear the garlands bought.

Be prepared with the properties required for the Pooja. Manjal (turmeric powder), Akshadhai, Loose Flowers for Archanai, Betal leaves & nuts, Coconut, Goa fruit, Bananas, Vilampazham (Wood Apple-known as Ganesha's favorite fruit).

All members in the family take head bath on this day early in the morning. We prepare Sundal, Coconut Mothak, Ulundhu Vadai, Rice & Dhal, Payasam, Ellu Kozhukattai, Ammini Kozhukattai. Most important is the Sweet Mothak and Sundal.

Pillaiyar is also made out of Turmeric powder which is most auspicious. Most families encourage guys to perform the Pooja since Lord Ganesha is a bachelor. Once the pooja is over the fruits and other food prepared are offered to god by performing neivedhyam. We pray god for the wellness of the family and request his blessings in all the happenings throughout the year and offer Deepaarathanai using Camphor.

People ensure to visit Temple to worship god on this special occasion.

We also perform Punar Poojai on the next day and then move the idol slightly towards North. The Idol used for the Pooja is usually put into the well on the third day. Nowadays the Idols are placed in common places in their respective area and they are collected and carried to the river/sea to dissolve them.

You can make use of my sister's website for the Ganesh Chathurthi recipes.

Wishing you all a Very Happy Vinayagar Chathurthi....





Sunday, 14 August 2016

Sumangali prarthanai/Suhasini Poojai/Pondugal



Sumangali Prathanai/Mangili Pondugal is a great occasion during which the elders in the family who passed away as Sumangali are worshiped to get their blessings. We usually perform this every year or most importantly before performing a marriage or Upanayanam in the family. Though this occasion does not include any formal poojai there are lot of formalities to be observed.

If there are two or more brothers in a family, then each one should not do it on their own without considering others preference. Even cousin brothers are also considered who belong to same gothram or family (i.e) brothers of father and their families are also considered before performing this pooja. If one family member perform this Pooja on the occasion of a marriage of their kids then the same year another family should not do it. They may join together and do it combining both occasions. In some families, the cousins may not be in touch with each other in the next generation. In that case we may not be aware of the happenings in their family. So we need not worry much about the co incidence that might happen in terms of performing this pooja. As long as we do not have a close contact and unaware of what is happening in their families, we can do it at our comfort.

If any elders in the family passed away and it has not been a year yet, then we shall not conduct this Poojai. This is applicable to the ladies invited as Pondugal.

The number of Suhasini/Pondugal for this Pooja are invited in odd numbers. The count should be 5, 7 , 9 and so on. But 3 is not a accepted number for this function. The count is towards the number of servings (i.e. Ilai kanakku) and not the number of ladies. The Swami Ilai is counted as one, one small girl who didn't attain puberty and then 3 ladies which will aggregate to 5. You have to increase the number of ladies as per your wish. Few families used to have 2 small girls which we call as Kanya pondugal. This depends on their family tradition. In few families there will be no Kanya Pondugal.

Usually the daughters of the family who are married are considered as Pondugal. The elder daughter in law is primarily eligible person to conduct this Pooja. The one conducting the Pondugal should also be a Sumangali.

The day to conduct the Sumangali Prathanai should be an auspicious day. The most preferred day would be the next day of the Srartham performed for the elder lady who passed away as a Sumangali. We need not think about other factors to conduct the function on this day.

While purchasing the cloths either saree or blouse bit we should ensure that there is no black color mixed in it. The day we purchase the materials should also be an auspicious day. We have to ensure that the materials are purchased before a week's time and not very much in advance. In my mom's family they purchase only on the day before the Poojai. The Saree purchased for Swami Ilai should be 9 yards. This is usually offered to the daughter. If there are no daughters then shall be offered to a elderly Sumangali.

Pondugal/Suhasini should be invited by offering Kumkum, manjal, gingely oil and Shikakai on the day before if they are residing close by. If they are coming from long distance these shall be offered upon their arrival.

The sumangalis should wear madi saree. The 9 yards saree & blouse piece bought should be kept in front of Swami along with kumkum, manjal, oil and Shikkai and perform neivedyam. Then the daughter/daughters shall be offered with kumkum and invited for the Pondugal. Apply oil on her head. These shall be done before the daughter in law of the family take bath. Then the saree and blouse after taking bath by the host (Daughter in law) should be dipped nicely in water and then dried on sun. Do not allow anyone to touch this. This is also madi. The saree will not be soaked in few families and just be folded and kept in the manai palagai. You shall refer this page for the details.

The Banana leaves in which we are going to serve food should be first placed for Swami ilai in front of the Manai palagai where we kept the 9 yards saree. This should be facing east/west. The leaf should be placed as if the swami is sitting to have food. The nuni of the leaf on the left side. The rest of the leaves shall be placed facing east, west and north and not south. While we start serving food we should start with Swami ilai and end with the leaf in the north side. Ensure to serve all food in little quantity first including a small portion of rice.

Maa kolam is drawn on the house entrance, manai palgai, on the all places where we are going to place the leaves for serving food. Prepare akshadhai and mix flowers with that, prepare Aarthi, mix turmeric in water and keep it in a small container, mix nalungu and keep it ready, Pangam, Neer more, Sukku Vellam also should be ready, Pancha pathiram with water, Camphor and the Deeparathanai plate, Two Lamp cleaned and filled with oil should be lit before the pooja. The saree dried should be kept on the manai palagai before the swami ilai with the Blouse piece around it as shown in Picture. Jewels available at home shall be placed on the Saree along with garland.



All Sumangalis should apply turmeric on their legs and wash with water and then stand on the entrance. Aarthi should be shown to invite them. Then the daughter in law should invite them from the entrance holding their hands one by one and direct towards the Leaves where food is served. While inviting Suhasinis the host clap hands and invite them.

The host should then show Aarthi to the God and to the Saree kept and then perform Neivedyam to the food, show camphor and then pray well. After completing the prayer host should mention the names of the elders who passed away as Sumangali in their families and call them to get blessings. In our family we used to mention the names and also tell "Arindhava Ariyadhava, therindhava, theriyadhava, oru paanikku ullava ellarum vandhu asirvadham pannungo". We might not know few members before 3 or 4 generations. Hence we used to tell the above in order to include everyone and get their blessings. Upon completion of prayer Akshadai is offered to the Saree by all the family members who host the Pooja.

After that serve theertham and we shall start serving the Sumangalis and ensure they had food without any dissatisfaction. Ask for rice finally if any required and ensure they had enough. After having food serve theertham and allow them to sit comfortably. Apply little turmeric on their foot and apply nalungu. Then offer them Sukku Vellam, Panakam, Neer more, Betal leaves and nuts. Then provide them thamboolam that includes, betal leaves & nuts, turmeric, Kumkum, Mehandhi, Comb, Small mirror, Bangles and saree with blouse piece/ blouse piece. While providing the thamboolam, the sumangali should be seated facing east/west. They get the thamboolam on the edge (Pallu/madi) of their sarees.

After providing to all Sumangali Aarthi is taken and the host family perform Namaskaram to all.

The Sumangalis who are invited as Pondugal should not have food at night. They can have some fruits/Kanchi and should not eat outside as well. The food is prepared wearing madi dress and without using onion and garlic. Freshly roasted and ground masalas are used for the cooking. Ladies who host and participate should tie their hair properly and not allowed to untie their hair. This is considered as a very important practice. Food should not be brought from outside. Outsiders are also not allowed to have food on this day. Ladies who are in their menstrual period also should not participate and have this food.

The daughters of the family who are invited for Pondugal shall be allowed to take food in night as per our family practice. The hosts also shall have food in the night.

The basic menu includes, Paruppu Payasam, thayir pachadi, Sweet Pachadi, Carrot Kosmalli, Sweet kosmalli, two varieties of curry, aviyal, pickle, paruppu, ghee, Ulundu Vadai, Poli, Sambar/pitlai, Rasam, Rice, curd, fruits.

Enjoy performing Sumangali Prarthanai and obtain blessings from elders.






















Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Varalakshmi Vradham/Varalakshmi Nonbu

Varalakshmi Vradham is followed by ladies in order to obtain the blessings of goddess Varalakshmi to remain as "Sumangali" for ever. So this Vradham is adopted for the wellness of the husband for the married ladies and for other girls, they pray goddess to bless them with the goodness post marriage.

This year the festival falls on 12 August 2016.

On the previous day evening of the festival, ladies invite Goddess "Ambaal" to their home. This is traditionally done by drawing the face of goddess on the Wall. In olden days, we can see this drawing in almost all houses. My grandma also does the same. Few families invite ambaal on the day of Festival in the morning.

Draw maakolam on the floor and Place a clean Banana leaf or a wide plate (thambaalam) on the top. Spread Paddy/Rice on the leaf and then place the Kalasam (prepared as explained below)
Take a clean Brass/Silver Vessel (Sombu), put raw rice, few Toor Dhall, 2 pieces of Manjal Kilangu, kadhora karugamani and Rupee coin. Apply Sandal and Kumkum on all sides of the Vessel. In few families, the vessel is filled with water instead of rice. Take a coconut, wash it in water, apply turmeric on it. On top of the vessel place the coconut upside down that don't fell into the vessel. The outer area of the coconut (between coconut and vessel) should be covered with few mango tree leaves end facing outside. On top of the coconut tuft (kudumi) Amman Mugam will be placed after decorating with jewels. A blouse bit will be fold and placed on the top of the Kalasam covering coconut. We can get a Paavadai to fold around the kalasam without covering the Mugham of Ambaal. Nowadays we get lot of decorative items in the shops. My sister's family insist karugamani as one of the jewels for Ambaal.



Ambaal will be decorated with Jadai (Flowers on the backside as decoration in the plait). Cotton wick is used to decorate Ambaal. Using Screw Pine Flower (thazhampoo) is also much encouraged for decoration. A lengthy cotton wick is prepared and apply kumkum in equal intervals of approximately 1 CM. The wick is used as garland for Ambaal. A medium size mirror will be kept on the backside of Amman enabling us to see the Plait decorated with flowers.

Now Draw kolam on the place where we are going to keep the Ambaal to invite the day before. Place a wooden stool (manai palagai) and draw Maa Kolam on that too. Place a green Banana leaf on the stool. Put Paddy/raw rice on the leaf and spread it, so that it look like a circle with approximately 10 to 15 cm diameter. Then place the Kalasam on the rice. Ambaal will be placed facing east/west and should be able to be viewed from the entrance of the house.

We should be able to see Ambaal by bending enough and not on table that stands to our height.

If there are three married ladies, each one would have one Ambaal that was gifted by her mother at the time of her first Nonbu after marriage. All Ambaal Mugham will be placed for pooja. But only one kalasam will be used for the Nonbu.

If each one does the Pooja in separate houses, then they shall use separate Kalasam for the purpose of celebrating this Nonbu.

Usually the bride's Mom gift the Silver Vessel and Ambaal to the Bride during the first Nonbu after her marriage. Along with this, the Bride is entitled for Vethalai Pakku, manjal, kumkum, flowers and dress. Every year, the bride's mom used to offer thamboolam and gift to her daughter on the occasion of this festival.

Ladies sing songs to welcome Goddess on the previous day evening. They also prepare Sakkarai pongal and perform Neivedhyam.

The song they used to sing is "Varalakshmi Raave maa intikki" meaning goddess Varalakshmi, please come to my house.

They next day morning, ladies get up early in the morning, clean the house, draw decorative kolam in the entrance and apply the red color sand (Chemmann). They take head bath (not oil bath) wear madisaar (madi dress) and apply kumkum on forehead.

Amman is then invited formally, the kalasam will be taken from the entrance and kept in the Pooja room where we are going to perform the Varalakshmi Pooja. A Mandapam will be placed where we are performing the Pooja. There should be a top where we are going to keep the Amman with Kalasam.

The decorations on this day include 2 small banana tress, Thoranam, serial lights, flowers etc;

Ladies prepare Paruppu Payasam, Kozhukattai, Ulundhu Vadai, Pacharisi Idly, sundal, Saadam and Thoor Dhal and Buy fruits to offer to goddess.

In our mother's home, priest used to come and lead us to perform the Pooja.

Nowadays, ladies follow the books available in shops to perform Pooja.

At the end of the Pooja the Saradu will be tied on the right hand. It will be tied by a senior Sumangali lady. While the Saradu is being tied the lady who is wearing the Saradu should have a Thamboolam on her hands and then allow the Sumangali to tie the Saradu.

If there are no ladies at home on that day, then husband shall tie the saradu to wife. Ladies will perform Namaskaram to god, elders at home and husband to obtain their blessings.

Ladies used to offer Thamboolam to Sumangalis on the evening. After issuing thamboolam, Aarathi will be taken to Ambal and slightly move towards North.

Next day we perform Punar poojai and prepare some sweet for neivedyam. In my sister's family they compulsorily prepare curd rice.

The next day night, take the Ambal carefully and place inside the Vessel in which we keep Rice. After performing this, we should not enter into the room throughout the night. The reason behind is allowing Ambal to take rest. Amman is again taken out on the next day morning. The rice used is mingled with the rice in the container in our house. The coconut is used to prepare some sweet preferably Arisi thengai payasam.

Celebrate this auspicious day with your family...


Thursday, 14 July 2016

Aadi Maasa Pirappu

Tamil Month "Aadi" has an in built charm because it is a Ice Breaker of festivals. Aadi means Pandigai and it is a favorite month to worship goddesses. During this month we celebrate Garuda Panchami, Varalakshmi Nonbu, Pathinettamber (Aadi 18), Aadi Pooram etc;

Since this month is known for the worship of Goddesses, in most of the families they offer Maavilakku on one of the Fridays. Most ladies perform Pooja on the Fridays and  offer Betal leaves & Betal Nuts, Flowers,Coins/Cash, Blouse bits etc as per their wish to Sumangalis staying in their neighborhood. One of my neighbors based out of Tirunelveli, used to wash the legs of Sumangali, offer Kumkum, apply Nalungu on the Foot.Then offer Betal Leaves & Betal Nuts.

The famous festival Aadi Pooram is also celebrated as Valaikaappu function for Amman. People used to offer Glass Bangles to goddesses on this day and sumangalis offer glass Bangles to each other along with Thamboolam.

Newly wedded couples, are invited on the first day of Aadi. It is practice in Hindu families that they invite their Son in Law and offer gifts. The family of the Bride prepare Special Food on this day. People belonging to the Tanjore region, offer Silver Tumbler to the new wedded Groom. They Serve Paal Payasam in this new Tumbler on the day of 1st day of Aadi.

The newly wedded Brides are usually advised to stay with their parents. The belief behind this is that if the girl gets pregnant during this month, the baby will be born during the Tamil month Chithirai. Chithirai being the hottest month, the young mothers will suffer a lot because of the hot sun. To avoid this, our ancestors planned in advance. Nowadays, this has been made as an optional practice since the fact is known to all.

Elders in our family do not prefer to perform Grahapravesam, Marriage or any other functions since this month is the beginning of Dhakshinayanam known as the beginning of night for the god.

Tamil Brahmins also have the habbit of preparing Aadi Paal and Vadai on the first day of Aadi.

Gents perform Tharppanam on the 1st day of Aadi.

Wish you all a great Beginning of Festivals....

Will get in touch with you the whole of this month...


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Samaaradhanai/Saamy Samaaradhanai

Samaaradhanai is usually conducted in the family before a major function like Marriage, Upanayanam etc; Also whenever elders in the family comes back after visiting Kasi performing the rituals there it is a practice that Samaaradhanai and ganga pooja are performed. This is to ensure that there are no hindrances that occur while conducting the functions. Also, a thanks giving for god who facilitated us  to complete the yatra without any obstruction.  Few families do the Samaaradhanai to Venkatachalapathy and few to Lord Muruga. Usually it is performed to the family deity/Kula deivam. Most families have the practice of performing Samaaradhanai to Lord Venkatachalapathy on (Tamil Month) Purattasi Saturday. Maavilakku is also offered on the day if that is a practice followed in their families.

My mom recently visited Kaasi and performed the rituals there with atmost sincerity. Hence we performed Samaaradhanai at our home. Usually, Pandit will come and perform the Pooja. Minimum 2 Brahmins are required to offer Lunch after completing the Pooja. Depending on the financial strength of the family conducting the function, the Brahmins are offered with dhoti and Angavasthram.

The day when we conduct the Pooja should also be an auspicious day. Ensure it does not fall on Ashtami/Navami/Kari Naal.  While conducting Samaaradhanai for Lord Venkatachalapathy elders prefer Saturday. Pandits also chant Sahasranamam on the day.


The items required for Pooja includes, Flowers for Archanai, garlands for god, Betal Leaves & Betal Nuts, Coconut, Banana, Sandal, Kumkum, Turmeric powder, Camphor, Agarpathi, Brass Cups, Pancha pathiram, Brass Plates, Manai Palagai for the Pandit.



Clean the Pooja room and Vilakku (Preferably two), apply sandal and kumkum and keep it ready the previous day itself. Draw Kolam in the Pooja room and at the entrance of the home in the morning.  Place a Manai palagai in the Pooja room and place the idol of the god. Archanai is made for the idol/photo of the god. Madi dresses are required for the persons who perform the Pooja and for the one who is involved in the preparation of the food including Neivedhyam. Married Ladies wear Madisaar and gents wear Panchakacham.

Usually Sakkarai Pongal and Ulundu Vadai are prepared for Neivedhyam. The lunch is also prepared specially for to offer for the Brahmins who are invited. Close family relatives are also invited to attend the Pooja. The menu for the day includes, Sakkarai Pongal, Thayir Pachadi, Sweet Pachadi, Two curry varieties, Aviyal, Green chutney, Pickle, Vadai, Two variety rice, Fruits, Pitlai, Rasam, curd. Banana leaves are used to serve food. No onion No garlic recipes only are allowed on this day.

Pandit performs the Pooja, chant sahasranamam and then give sometime for us to submit our prayers to god. We have to perform Namaskaram to god and get the blessings. Then offer the dhakshanai and food to the Brahmanas. After the food is consumed by them, we have to perform namaskaram to them as well. They will offer their blessings to us.

Persons who do the Pooja and prepare food do not consume breakfast in the morning. Food is consumed after the completion of Pooja. Kids are usually allowed to take some light food.  

Share your experiences and practices in your family related to Samaaradhanai. 

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Baby Care/Infant Care - Traditional method


Following my previous post about the Postnatal care for woman, the most interesting and challenging task is to handle is the infant. We would not know for what reason the baby is crying. Sometimes, the baby will behave restless.  I want to share few tips for the visitors first.

Avoid visiting the infant’s house at least for a month. When you go to the infant’s house, wash your legs, hands with soap. It’s better not to lift the infant at least for three months even if you are good at handling infants. Unless, it is necessary for those who shower the baby it is always better to avoid having physical touch with the baby. The baby will be very tender in all aspects. The immunity level is very low. The baby will undergo pain over the body while handled by many people. Any unknown infection the visitor has might get passed on to the infant.  Do not give money (rupee notes | dollars) in the baby's hand. As the money is handled by many people it is highly infectious. Give the money if you want to offer as gift to the mother and not to the baby. Also the mother and the infant require lot of rest at this stage. We can convey our wishes to the family members; inform them the reason for not visiting during the early stage. Nowadays, the doctors also advise the same to the family, which they find it difficult to tell their friends and relatives.

Kuli Murai for Boy and Girl Babies:

The turn to shower a girl baby (oil Bath) is on even days calculated from the date of Birth. However, initially after Punniyavachanam the turn starts on 13th day followed by 15, 18, 22, 25, 28th day and then alternate days.

The date when the woman gets eligible to enter the kitchen as per our traditions is on the 45th day for a girl baby. This we call as “ Satti thoduradhu “. On this day the woman will take head bath and go to kitchen formally touch the containers in which Salt, Rice and Tamarind are stored.

For the boy babies the turn to shower is on odd days.  It starts from 13th day followed by 15, 17, 21, 23, 25, 28th day and then on odd counts.

The family members are not allowed to go to temple or attend functions conduct any functions for 10 days if it is a boy baby and 3 days for a girl baby.  This we call as “Purundu”. Few people don’t take food in the house till the completion of this duration.

The medicines that our ancestors used to give to the baby those days includes Sukku, Sitharathai, Vasambu, Kadukkai,  Jadhikkai, Masikkai . These items are bought before the delivery. All these are washed and then put in milk and boiled for 15 minutes. Then take it out and allow it to dry completely in shade and not under sun. Usually it is dried inside the house and it takes a minimum of 15 days to get this dried properly. Keep it in a dry container.
On the day when the baby is given oil bath as per the above mentioned days these 6 medicinal valued items are slightly rubbed in a Sandal wood using mother’s milk and fed to the baby.

If the baby seems to have Stomach upset then the sukku is rubbed once in addition and added to the mixture. Similarly when there is sore throat Sitharathai is added, for Constipation kadukkai is added a bit more, when the baby is not Sleeping properly jathikkai and masikkai are used in addition. Vasambu  is usually added very less since it might induce stammering if used beyond the normal level.



The baby’s clothes are preferred to be washed by hands and by someone at home.  The clothes should  be washed and gently squeezed. Over squeezing is usually not preferred. The clothes are dried under shade and not under direct sun for a long time. Especially should not be exposed under open area after 5.30 PM.
The babies are also not allowed to be taken outside after 6 PM. I have had bad experience personally when I took the baby outside after 6 PM. The baby used to cry during night and gets upset. It is very tough to bring back the baby to normalcy.

Our grandmothers used to apply oil (preferably olive oil) over the baby’s body and take the baby under sun early in the morning around 7 AM. This is good for the baby and naturally allows the baby to get vitamin D. 
In olden days, we didn’t have the store bought food. Hence we used to prepare food at home for the kids and the ingredients depend on the age of the baby.

Usually for the first six months only Mothers milk is provided. The mothers should not compromise in terms of the posture for feeding. She has to sit and feed the baby and keep the baby on the shoulder till you hear a burp. Only then the baby is allowed to sleep. Otherwise the milk consumed might get vomited.

After 6 months the baby would require additional food. Usually the first food is very light since the child’s digestive system should adapt to the new food. At this stage Old Boiled rice 200 grams, 50 grams of fried gram, 1/2 tablespoon of Ajwain and sukku 1 pinch are mixed and grind nicely in a rice mill.

Then this soft flour is mixed in water. Initially once half spoon of this flour is added to 100 ml of water and boiled for 3 minutes till the flour gets cooked well. This can fed with a spoon. Slowly monitor the kids adaptiveness to the food (check the digestion, likeliness of taste). Then the consistency can be increased by adding flour.

When the 8th month starts boil the vegeatables like carrot, beans, potato, toor dall and add little bit Rasam and ghee. Smash everything using a heavy ladle and feed the baby. 

At this stage, we can add Wheat, Moong dhal to the home made Rice mixture.

From 9 months we can give Sathu maavu in kanchi consistency can be given or in semi solid consistency adding ghee and sugar. Both my sons never had store bought food.  My Mil and my Mom brought up the kids by giving the above mentioned homemade food only.

Also refer my sisters website for Baby Food Recipe Ideas 

Hope this lengthy post was interesting and useful. 



Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Tamil Varuda pirappu | Tamil New year


Tamil new year| Tamil varuda pirappu is celebrated on 14th April or the first day of the tamil calendar It marks the beginning of the Tamil new year with the first month Chitirai. (சித்திரை ). On this auspicious day, we get up early in the morning . The previous night, when  we go to bed my mother will keep 5 Rs coin (those days it was a big money for us)  under our pillow. On the day of Tamil new year, morning after getting up we will first see the coin after opening our eyes. The tradition behind doing this is, the whole year will bring out prosperity and wealth. After getting up we take bath and pray to god. As i mentioned in my Pongal festival post, those who are have to perform Tharpanam should complete this ritual first and then perform the Pooja.  As per our tradition on this tamil new year day, since it is Pudhu maasa pirappu, those who have their parents and married girls who have their in laws should not take head bath or oil bath on this day.
Usually, at home we will make an elaborate meal on tamil new year. Generally the tamil new year meal includes 6 tastes (arusuvai) of food viz,sweet, sour, salt, spice astringent and bitter. It is believed that the year is filled with all type of emotions. So it is ensured that the food should contain all these tastes. We make maanga pachadi, neem flower rasam (vepampoo) , payasam, vadai , pachadi and many more.
The new year Panjangam (பஞ்சாங்கம் ) is kept in the pooja room while doing the pooja. Many people arrange Fruits, vethala paaku, thamboolam, jewellery, gold coins and mirror in a tray and keep it in the pooja room. This is called Vishu kani. It is believed that seeing all these auspicious items in the morning of the new year day will bring prosperity throughout the year.

The panjangam kept in the morning will be taken in the evening and elders at home  who knows to read it, will tell about the prediction of the new year. However in our house we used to look for the star birthdays of the family members and other few auspicious days such as varalakshmi nombu, avani avittam etc. Panjanga padanam (பஞ்சங்க படனம் ) is done in most of the temples too. Some elderly experienced person will read out the forecast of the year for all zodiac signs and many people will go there to listen it.
Since i am born and brought up in madurai, the entire month is full of celebrations in Madurai meenakshi amman temple.  Me an my sister will go to the Azhagar festival with my dad early in the morning to enjoy the festive atmosphere.
To all my readers - இனிய தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Postnatal care of Woman

In continuation to one my previous posts about Taking care of a pregnant woman, I want to share few traditional practices about taking care of a woman after delivery.  Since the woman had undergone a major change in her Physic, it would take few months for her to come back to normalcy. Same time she has to take care of the infant in terms of feeding, going through sleepless nights, etc; it is essential to offer the woman with some healthy tips. This helps her to take care of her health and the infant. Since the infant takes the mother’s feed as the primary food for at least three months, the food consumed by the mother is very important.

Traditionally, post natal care starts immediately after the delivery happens. The grandmother needs to be prepared before delivery by collecting the things that are required.  The items need to be used for pathiya samayal are usually available in Naattu marundu Kadai.

A pinch of Kasturi is placed in a Betal leaf and provided to the woman who delivered the child. This is given within 24 hours of delivery. Sometimes if the delivery happens to be a C-section then we cannot give it immediately. Hence the timeline is usually within 24hours. It is believed that the mother will not develop seizures if she consumes the Kasturi.



When the Doctor allows the woman to take food, we start the traditional method of Pathiya samayal. This does not include much of Tamarind, Brinjal, Root vegeatables that develop gastric related problems/Alergy. Inclusion of garlic is very much recommended since it helps in feeding.

My mom used to sauté Garlic and onions with little pepper and salt in Gingely oil. This is provided during lunch before the normal food. Hot Rice is mixed with this and consumed every day. This also improves feeding and reduces the heat of the body. Most importantly, my grandmother do not allow anyone to serve food for the woman who underwent the delivery. In fact, food is always served separately, without the knowledge of anyone in the house.



The Paithiya samaiyal includes Poricha koottu without Coconut and including pepper, Poricha Rasam, Paruppu Thogaiyal, Milagu Kulambu, Sutta Appalam, Angaya podi etc. Food does not include/ less amount of toor dhal at least for 60 days since it is believed that, gas related issues will crop up.

Ghee is also one of the most recommended items that are added in food. Betal leaves are also highly recommended to be chewed on a daily basis since it is rich in calcium that is required for the woman and the baby at this stage.

Legiyam is provided from the day of Punniyavachanam and milk is recommended on a daily basis. This legiyam is readily available in shops nowadays. This is popularly known as Diwali Marundhu or Pillaipetha legiyam. You can also visit this page to prepare this simple version of Legiyam at home.
Every time before feeding the Baby, drink good amount of water. This helps in better feeding. Ensure to take one glass of water before feeding. 

Both mom and child should take oil bath alternate days. Mom is advised to use Kasturi manjal while bathing since it is used as a anti disinfectant. 

After 60 days Mom can start taking normal food slowly and monitor health conditions for any abnormal behavior of some food. However, feeding mothers should avoid Jackfruit, Mangoes, outside food to avoid any impact to the baby consuming mother’s milk.

I will share few ideas about infant care in my next post. 

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Karadaiyan Nonbu

The day when the Tamil month of Panguni starts we observe Karadaiyan Nonbu. The time when this Nonbu is performed is at the time when Maasi Month expires and Panguni starts. Unlike Varalakshmi Nonbu which is celebrated by people who have this practice in their family, this is undertaken by all ladies. 

The reason behind performing this ritual is unique.  It is believed that Savithri a woman in historical time fought with Lord Yama and got her Husband Satyavan’s life back from death. She prayed goddess Gowri and offered Adai made with rice and Karamani along with butter. Hence this Karadai is still been prepared during the Nonbu and offered to goddess during prayer.
This year the time to tie the Nonbu Saradu is 9.30 to 10 AM. At times the time when both months meet happen during late night. Ladies still undergo fasting complete the Nonbu and then finish their fasting by having the Nonbu Adai

Sumangalis take head bath, wrap Madisaar Saree (Preferably Madi) and perform Kamakshi pooja. Before starting the Pooja the Neivedhyam is prepared and kept ready. Also Betal leaves, Betal nuts, flowers for pooja and Sumangalis, Banana Leaves with Nuni are bought for the Pooja.

Kolam should be drawn facing east/west. When there is only one woman do not put one kolam and do the offering. One pair of offering is preferred. Definitely, three numbers are not engaged. Two Sweet Adai will be kept on the Nuni Ilai and one spoon of Butter. The Manjal Saradu (Rope) is tied with Pasumanjal and/or Flowers and kept ready. One in front of Goddess along with Betal Leaves, Betal Nuts, flowers, Fruits (Banana), Coconut and one Saradu is placed for the Goddess.



After Performing the Pooja, we have to do Neivedhyam of Adai placed on the leaves and then tie the rope around the neck. If husband is available at the time of Pooja, preferably husband ties that Saradu to his wife. If not, do it on your own or if unmarried your mom shall help you. Tie the Saradu kept for Goddess on the Idol or the Photo.

When you perform the Neivedhyam below is the prayer that Sumangalis used to tell.
“ Urugaadha Vennaiyum Oor Adaiyum Naan Tharuven, Orukalum En Kanavan Ennai Vittu Piriyadhirukka vendum”

Two pieces of adai placed in the Banana Leaf are shared between husband and wife.
Especially, Sumangalis do not take Butter milk as part of fasting.


Next day minimum one adai is kept and offered for the cow.  Cow is worshiped by applying Kumkum and Turmeric on the back of it. 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Visit to Kula deivam Kovil /Family Deity

We recently visited our Kuladeivam Kovil near Mayiladuthurai.  It is a small village near Mayiladuthurai where there are no shops in the near Vicinity. We used to visit the temple at least once in a year.  We perform Abishekam, Archanai and offer Maavilakku to goddess Mariyamman in the temple.  Our Kuladeivam is “Putradiyal” where the goddess is said to be raised as Swayambu.  A priest (Gurukkal)  residing in the nearby village is taking care of the daily Pooja at the temple. We used inform him in advance and check his availability. We buy all the necessary things for the Abishegam and Gurukkal prepare the Prasadham from his home.  

Usually, when a function like Marriage, Upanayanam, children pursuing higher education, Grahapravesam is due we visit the temple first and do the rituals to ensure everything goes well with the Blessings of god.

Most families does the first time hair removal for the child in their Kuladeivam temple. 

I have heard and read about the importance of the worship of Kuladeivam and am now happily performing the rituals once in a year. If your Kuladeivam is close to your city of residence you are lucky enough to visit frequently.

I want to share the list of things to be bought for the Abhishegam so that nothing is missed. My mom maintains a notebook that includes all the details.  
        1.    Turmeric Powder
        2.     Kumkum
        3.    Dhiraviya podi
        4.   Sandal powder
        5.  Gingelly oil
        6.  Milk/Pasum Paal
        7. Curd
        8. Tender Coconut
        9.  Honey
      10.   Rose water
      11.   Fruits to prepare Panchamirtham (Apple, Banana, grapes, Dates, Dry grapes, Pomegranate, Sweet       Lemon and any other fruit of that season. Cut the fruits and add Nattusakkarai and Honey
          and mix it to prepare Panchamirtham.)
       12.  Lemon

After Abhishegam, the god/goddess will be dressed up with New Cloths, Flowers and Garlands specially bought for the occasion. By the time the Alankaram is going on, we can prepare to offer the Maavilakku. Read my post about Maavilakku to complete this ritual. 



Listed below are the rest of the things that we have to buy.
1.       Banana Leaves for offering Maavilakku
2.       Betal Leaves and Paakku
3.       Banana for offering (Neivedyam)
4.       Coconut 2 (Archanai and Maavilakku)
5.       Saree or Dhothi to God or Goddess
6.       Camphor and Plate to shower Aarthi
7.       Agarpathi
8.       Garland to God
9.       Flowers (For Archanai and to decorate Maavilakku)
10.   Panchapathiram and Udhruni to perform Neivedhyam
11.   One vessel to prepare Panchamirtham
12.   Two Big Plates to place the things
13.   Scissors to cut flowers
14.   Knife to cut fruits

After the Alankaram is over, lit the Maavilakku and allow it to glow for some time. Ensure enough Ghee is available in the vilakku. At the end of the Archanai and Dharshan which usually takes 15 minutes perform Neivedhyam and show the Karpoora Aarthi.  Then move the Leaves in which Maavilakku is placed towards North direction slightly to confirm that the ritual is completed. Both the Stings need to be picked carefully and placed in the lamp lit in the temple. I used the bottom side of the Udhruni to do this. That was quite easy.

Some people, who live in abroad may not be able to purchase all those required. They can arrange everything with the help of Gurukkal who takes care of the Pooja. My MIL insists to go to Kuladeivam Kovil straight after starting from Home. Heard the same from few elders too. Complete the rituals in your Kuladeivam Kovil first and then visit any other temples.

People who have their Kuladeivam as Palani Murugan, Thirupathi Venkatachalapathy etc can visit the temple and donate to the Devasthanam as per the temple rules.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Traditional methods of taking care of Pregnant Woman

Taking care of a pregnant woman is a very important and crucial task those days. Since delivery is taken care at home, the period prior to delivery also has the same importance as postnatal period. My periamma worked as a trained staff conducting delivery at home. She shared her experience with me. Also she has to take care of her younger sisters, after her mother’s demise.  Her services were extended to the next generation as well, even though the delivery was conducted at Hospital. I am also one among those who enjoyed her pre and post natal care.

Usually, the next of Seemandham the pregnant woman travels to her mother’s home and stay there till 3rd month after delivery. This is traditionally followed allowing the pregnant woman to enjoy the warmth of her mother. Nowadays, if the pregnant woman happens to be in other country, Parents travel all the way to the daughter’s place and conduct all the rituals, stay with them for few months and follow our traditional way of parenting during pregnancy. 

Jeera kashayam (Cumin) is most important and it is provided to the pregnant woman to reduce the warmth of the body.  This is provided from the 9th month of pregnancy.  This is preferably consumed during the morning before breakfast.

1 Tea spoon of Sombu and Jeeragam (Fennel & Cumin seeds) should be roasted till golden brown and pour 1 & ½ cup water. Boil till it comes half cup.  Add panakalkandu (optional) and filter the water. Then add 1 teaspoon of butter to the syrup. The syrup is ready to be consumed.
When the pregnant woman experience pain, this kashaayam is given. If the pain settles down, it is believed to be false pain. If the pain gets severe, then it is time to make preparations to take her to the hospital.




Kodhi kanchi is also prepared and consumed from the 5th month of pregnancy. Wash the rice and add water to cook. Then place it on the stove and let it boil. When the water starts boiling and observes the light while color of rice, take ½ cup of water and add 1 Teaspoon of butter and consume when it is warm. This is also consumed to reduce the heat that develops during pregnancy.  
And during pregnancy, the woman experiences back pain. Elders advice to apply oil in the hip and pour hot water in bearable heat during the evening. This enables the bones to relax and increase flexibility that enables for easy delivery.


Usually, no new dresses or things that are required for the child are purchased before the baby is born. A used dress of an infant in our family is safely kept and used when the new baby is born.  Mine was also kept safely by my Mom and used after 20 years.  It is believed that the newly born infant also grows with health and wealth as of the grown one. 

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Namakaranam / Punnyavachanam

After delivery, on the 11th or 21st day Punnyavachanam will be conducted. Usually after the postnatal period of the mother the function is performed to purify the House religiously. On this day, mother and the child has to take oil bath in the morning, before the Pandit come to conduct the function. The mother should not see the child and the husband with empty stomach after taking bath. Hence, a small pinch of salt and few strands of rice are provided after taking bath. The same day, the child will be given a name and this occasion is called as “Namakaranam”. In some occasions, due to various reasons the Punnyavachanam is conducted first and the Namakaranam is carried out on a later period. In some families, they do this Namakaranam during the 3rd or 5th month of the child. Both Mom and Child are eligible to go to Temple after the Punnyavachanam function.

New dresses are bought for the child, mother and father by the maternal grandmother and grandfather.  Sweets are prepared, friends and relatives are invited to attend the function and bless the infant. Paruppu thengai, Vethalai Pakku, Flowers, Fruits are also presented on the occasion.  Traditionally, the expenses incurred for Food on that day are born by the Child’s father. My mom accepted a small amount to satisfy my husband.  After performing the Pooja, the Pandit asks the Infant’s father and mother to utter the name on the right ear of the child. This is how the infant is officially named. Our ancestors have a belief of naming the child with the name of their grandfathers/grandmothers. However, since some of the family members do not want to utter the name of elders in front of them as a matter of respect, they started giving an alias name to the child. This alias name is usually used in the home.  The name officially announced by the Pandit in the function is called as Sharma name and used while performing religious functions or while doing Archanai in the temple. However, this Sharma name comes into effect after Upanayanam for male child. Few families have the habit of giving three names for the child. In my family, we have 4 girls with the same name since it is the name of my maternal grandmother. This goes well with my paternal grandmother’s name too.

The same day, the infant will be placed in a well decorated cradle and relatives used to sing songs. This function is usually conducted in the evening. Avoid using lot of flowers to decorate. The infant may not be able to bear strong odor of flowers. Nowadays, we started conducting this function in the morning itself at the end of Punnyavachanam and Namakaranam. The cradle is made of wood and usually not available in all houses. Some people used to preserve the cradles used by the elders in their family and allow their friends and relatives to use the same. This wooden cradle is used formally on this day and we are free to use the new ones available on stores.

In a plate, paddy is spreaded and the child's uncle used to write the name on the paddy. This is kept beneath the cradle. From this day onwards, we used to place Dhristhi pottu on the forehead and cheeks for the child. 



Paternal Aunty of the child buys Velli Kaappu (Kolusu/Thandai), Thanga Kaappu (golden Bangles) for the child. Aympon kaappu (5 metals) is also bought for the child. In turn, the child’s Aunty is gifted with a saree or some gift.  A small piece of the umbilical cord (thoppul kodi) is also preserved and kept inside the Thayathu and Tied in the black rope around the child’s waist along with Nai kasu preferably made of Seppu (Copper). This is applicable for both male and female babies. Additionally, for female babies Arasa Ilai is also tied. For male babies Thambi Thozhan is added. These are also available in Jewellery shops.


We prepare Sundal (preferably Black Channa) on this day and distribute to the relatives. A small bunch of sundal is tied in a plastic cover and kept on the corner of the cradle. Kaapparisi is also prepared and distributed to the invitees. 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

After Seemantham and Delivery - Formalities

After the completion of the Seemantham function, the next day is considered to be an apt day for the woman to leave her spouse’s house and go to her Mom’s house for delivery. Even though the next calendar day is not that great, usually this day is considered suitable to start. Nowadays, since women also balance their career along with their house hold responsibilities, they do not start immediately after the next day of Seemantham. Hence an auspicious day is chosen to start from her MIL’s Home.
Before the pregnant woman leaves home she has to perform Namaskaran to the cooking stove. She should dip her hand with oil (if not fully slightly rub oil) and place a mark on the wall near the cooking stove. We believe that cooking stove is goddess Lakshmi. Hence it is a formal way of saying that she will leave her home for delivery and come back to take care of her responsibilities in her spouse’s house as a mother.



The pregnant woman while travelling has to carry some cooked food that includes salt. Usually a small portion of curd rice or idly is preferred. Believe this is required since, our grandpas and grandmas have to travel long hours to reach their home. This food would be useful while travelling. However, even though the mothers’ house is in the next street, this ritual is followed.
The pregnant woman should carry a small bunch of Veppaillai (Neem leaf) while traveling. This is usually followed, whenever the pregnant woman goes out of her house. This is also a must when she travels for delivery.

Most importantly, her husband should not come forward to send off when she leaves to her mom’s home for delivery.

After delivery, an auspicious day during the 3rd or 5th month (odd) is selected by elders, when she is coming back to her MIL’s home. If the Pregnant woman starts from her Mil’s house during the odd month, then travelling back also should be odd month and the same with even month as well.

Whoever is accompanying the infant and the mother while returning back to her MIL’s house after delivery should be honored with a small gift that is usually a Saree. This is considered as an honor to the Sampandhi for safely taking care of the mother and child during and after delivery.

I will share about the detailing of how to take care of a pregnant woman before delivery and the infant mother after delivery shortly. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Amavasai

Amavasai/No moon day is considered to be the most auspicious day to perform rituals to our ancestors. On the day of Amavasai, we should take head bath (not oil bath) early in the morning. Kolam is not drawn on the entrance until the ritual of offering Tharpanam is completed. Children/elders  who have parents should not take head bath. None of the gents are allowed to shave beard. We should not cut nails/hair on that day.

This time Amavasai happening on Monday during the Tamil month of “Thai” adds more value to the auspiciousness. This day occurring tomorrow happens once in 32 years called as Mahodhaya Amavasai. My neighbor who is a senior Pandit explained me the significance of the day. Tomorrow (8-Feb-2016) is a Monday (Somavaram) combined with Thiruvonam Nakshatram and Vyathipaadham. People who have to perform Tharpanam used to go to river bank to perform this ritual. Tomorrow, by early morning during sunrise Tharpanam has to be performed once. After that once again usual Tharpanam is also performed.

Gents who have to perform Tharpanam should complete the ritual first preferably with the guidance of their Guru (Pandit of their family). This is to ensure that we offer at least a small value of fund to our Guru. After performing the Tharpanam, gents have to perform their regular Pooja whatever they usually do at home and Sandhiya vandanam. Female members will lit the lamp and draw Kolam as soon as the ritual is completed. Male members who have lost their father become eligible for doing Tharpanam. His spouse also has to undergo fasting on this day. Usually, as part of fasting, people skip breakfast. They consume lunch directly that is prepared without onion and garlic. Dinner was also skipped by most of the people. However, nowadays due to the work culture and health issues, we consume some simple food like idly, Oats Poridge, Upma or Dosa. The dinner is also prepared without onion and garlic.

In my grand fathers home, they prepare Paysam, Vadai, Thayir Pachadi, sambar, Rasam, Plaintain curry, (is a must on the day of Amavasai) and koottu. This heavy lunch fill their tummy thus enable them avoid the dinner.

Tomorrow being Thai Amavasai, Paruppu Payasam is prepared on the day and offered to god. Raw rice with black ellu (Ajwain seeds) is offered to the crow before we consume food. Refer my Pongal Festival Post for the list of vegetables that should not be used on this day.

Children are not allowed to undergo fasting on this day. Especially, those who have parents must ensure to have a small portion of Rice for dinner.

My perimma is here with me for few days. I heard that her grandma taught her a kolam that is drawn on the Pooja room on the no moon day. This Includes the pictorial representation of a Snake, Crab and a Sangu and they offer milk to god on the day. By offering the snake crab and milk, the belief is that their family members do not get to see the reptiles that ensure their safety.



My perimma was working in a small village where there is frequent roaming of Snakes. But by following the above ritual, she had never seen a snake nor disturbed. However, her companions at work while walking to work or coming back frequently get to see the reptiles.

On this Thai Amavasai that occurs on Monday, it is believed that offering to needy people, brings in loads of goodness to our family.


I was also advised to go to the nearest temple and round the Arasamaram ( Peepal tree) early in the morning. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

Seemantham

Though lot of formalities of Seemantham are taken care by Pandit (Sasthrigal), the family members also have to be prepared with the rituals that are followed in their families.

Seemantham is performed on the 8th month of pregnancy (Tamil month).

After Valaikaappu function is completed in the morning, the pregnant woman along with her husband will be dressed up with traditional wear for the next occasion Seemantham.

The pregnant woman and the lady (thunai manai), who accompanied for Valaikaappu, will be offered with some food. I had idly brought from my uncle’s home. In my sister’s family, they give Pongal and Vadaam to the both ladies.

First ritual is the Uthagashanthi performed by the priests. They chant Mantras and make the water in the Kalasam sacred. The pregnant woman has to change the saree and be prepared for Abishekam with the sacred water in the kalasam that was kept in the Pooja. Husband has the privilege to pour the water on her wife. Songs are also sung at that time. Since the Pregnant woman used to wear her Koorrai pudavai at the time of the function, she has to change the saree before Abishekam. Upon completion of Abishekam, the saree that was worn during Abishekam will be offered to a Sumangali lady. Manai Palakai decorated with Kolam is required during Abishekam. 

The ritual of squeezing drop of a mixture (explained below) is also performed by her spouse. The mixture will be tied at the end of the saree and squeezed into the nose of the pregnant woman. It is very small drop that won’t harm the woman while inhaling in. This ritual will not be seen by all the invitees of the function. Usually, a saree will be used to hide the event. This function is mentioned as Mookku pizhidhal. While doing this the woman should not sneeze. It is also believed that the delivery will be safe if Saree used for this ritual (usually the saree worn during Marriage) is worn for a while when the delivery pain starts.  

People who belong to Yajur Vedam will mix alam mottu and milk and blend it in stone mortar. People following Rig Vedam use Arukampul (Bermuda grass) and milk to prepare this mixture. This ritual is done by girl Children who is yet to attain puberty (kanya pengal). While blending the mixture the girls used to tell “Aambala petha Pombala Petha”.



Elders used to follow an interesting ritual during this function. Sprouted green moong dhall, Appam and Kozhukattai will be prepared and put together in a cover and tied in the Saree (Madi kattuvadhu) of the pregnant woman. Again odd number of Appam and Kozhukattai should be placed in the cover. A small child will be asked to pick any one from the bunch of Appam and Kozhukattai. If the child picks an Appam, it is believed that a girl baby is expected and a boy if Kozhukattaiis picked.

While the pregnant woman eats her lunch in the afternoon, she has to feed a small portion of Dhall rice mixed with Ghee to a small child. Elders usually prefer a male baby to accept the feed.



Achutham Thelithal is also an important ritual followed in the function. Milk and honey mixed together in a small vessel will be sprinkled gently on the lower hip of the pregnant woman using flowers. Flowers dipped in the mixture will be sprinkled by elderly ladies.  The pregnant woman has to bend down to enable the elders to perform this ritual.

In the evening, elders conduct a function called Poochoottal. Sister in law of the pregnant woman offer flowers to the pregnant woman, gift a saree or something as per her wish. Songs are also an important part of this function. At the end of the function Aarthi is taken.

One more interesting procedure that is followed during the function is that, sis-in-law of the pregnant woman utters the below stanza in the ears.

" Manaa Panaa Kettukko, Vayittru pillai Kettukko, Sakkarai kuttiye Seekkiram vaa"