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.