pilgrim for sabarimala
is a famous pilgrim centre. Lord Ayyappa otherwise
known as Kaliyuga Varadan is the chief deity
of Sabarimala. It was considered as a holy act
to observe vrutha (penance) and to undertake Sabarimala
pilgrimage. Those who observe such vruthas were
called Ayyappan. Women were not allowed
to undertake Sabarimala pilgrimage or to mount Sabarimala.
is the grand feast organised in connection with celebrations,
festivals, marriages and other auspicious functions.
belief that the omens that we see at the time of starting a
journey influence its result was in force from the very early
period itself. Certain things were considered as bad and
others good. This is known as Sakunam Nokkal. There
are good and bad Sakunams. If we see bad Sakunam
we have to return back to the starting place, sit a while and
continue the journey. Seeing a single Brahmin while commencing
the journey is a bad omen, whereas two Brahmins is good.
The things of omen are classified as follows in the Malabar
Good Omens: Curd, raw rice, honey, ghee of cow, lead,
sulphur, metal filter, sound of bell, vilakku (lamp), lotus,
karuka grass, raw fish, meat, grain powder, ripe furits, sweets.
Bad Omens: A handicapped person or blind, widow,
salt, donkey, pieces of rope, broken vessels, screaming sounds,
deep yelling, sneezing, cursing and sudden shivering and falling.
A crow flying left or rightwards is a good omen. A black
cat running or jumping across is bad. Flowers and bangles
are good omens. A cow with rope is also a good omen.
is one of the Shodashacharangal of Namboothiris.
Samaavarthanam is the occasion of the boy's return to
normal life after education. It is performed after the
age of 14 years
When Brahmins of Kerala became the masters of
temples, their political influence also increased. Gradually
they became landlords. To maintain their property in tact
and to avoid its division, they practiced the theory that the
eldest of their son alone wouldl marry from the same caste and
others from Nair classes. This practice is known as Sambandham.
Though Brahmins considered Sambandham as one of the 64
Anacharams (social do-nots), this type of alliance existed
for centuries. Gradually Sambandham became common within
Nair community also. Robin Jeffri says: “Sambandham means
simple nair marriage ceremony involving presentation of a cloth
by a man to woman. In ancient Kerala it appears that both men
and women could have Sambhandam with more than one person
at the same time. Marriages contracted and ended with
considerable ease. This was called Sambandham and
a woman might have Sambandham with a number of men at
the same time. Either man or woman could end the Sambandham
with little formality” (The Decline of Nayar Dominance).
However, the matrimonial alliance of females was not so rigid.
Those who came into union with Brahmins maintained their moral
values and kept their standards.
The legal validity for Sambandham marriage came to an
end with the enactment of the Nair Regulation Act of M.E.1100
(1924 A.D.). Up to this, there was no validity for their
Sambandhams. The new regulation prohibited them
to own and disown wives at their pleasure. Certain conditions
were also laid out for divorce etc.
“In a Namboothiri family, only the oldest brother was allowed
to marry; he could marry up to four Namboothiri women. The younger
brothers were allowed to enter into relationships with Nair
women. The Nair woman would then have two husbands (a Nair and
a Namboothiri) and in essence, a system of polyandry came into
being. However, as a consequence of this practice, the number
of Namboothiris declined and the number of Nairs increased because
the children born in a Nair-Namboothiri marriage would belong
to the Nair woman's family. The Sambandham practice was
marginal and existed only for a short period of time. It does
not exist today” says Wickiepepdia.
Sambandham relates to Nair marriage. It is known so
in South Malabar, Kozhikode, Ponnani, Kochi and in some parts
of Travancore. The Sanskit words like Sambandham
and Bandhavam came to common use after the Aryan domination.
In earlier days marriage denoted the grand function organised
on the eve of Thalikettu. The marriage among Nairs
was usually called as Pudavakoda, Pudakamuri, Uzham Porukkal
etc. Sambandham was known as Pudamuri, Uzhamporukkuka
and Vidaram Kayaruka in North Malabar; Gunadhoshm
in South Malabar and Kidakka Kalyanam in certain areas
of Palakkad. The functions related to this were very simple.
The bridegroom arrives in the bride’s residence on the appointed
day and time along with his near relatives. The bride’s brother
will wash the feet of the bridegroom and then he enters the
padinjatta (main room of the house) and gave four or
eight cloths, betel wine and areca nut to the bride. After
food, the bride’s aunt leads the groom and bride to the Maniyara
(room for the married couple). The groom will leave to
his residence the next day or after one or two days. When
he comes with his friends for the second time, the bride also
will be taken to the groom’s residence either by himself or
by the women of his family. It is interesting to note that the
functions like Thalikettu (tying thali-gold ornament
around bride’s neck) Mothiram aniyal (exchange of rings)
and garlanding were not there in Pudavakoda. Those attending
the functions will be less than twenty. The person who
gave the pudava was known as Gunadoshakkaran.
The Pudamuri of North Malabrar was celebrated in a grand
manner. After comparing the horoscopes and fixing a date
the bridegroom and his relatives and friends proceed to bride’s
residence after sun set. The bride’s relatives will arrange
a reception to the party. After feast, the astrologer
declares the auspicious time for Pudamuri. Then
the groom will be taken to padinjatta (the main room
of house). Nilavilakku, Ashtamangalyam, paddy tender
leaf of coconut, bow, mirror etc will be placed in the room.
The bride who is well adorned with various types of ornaments
will be led to this room. The bridegroom will give pudava
(new cloth) to the bride who is facing to the eastern direction.
The functions of pudamuri will end for that day.
Next day the grooms relative will take the bride to grooms house
after attending the function known as ‘vettilakettu’.
Uzham Porukku and Vidaram Kayaral were the special
type of marriages in North Malabar. Pudamuri was an expensive
affair and therefore all cannot afford this. Therefore,
some depend on Uzham Porukku. The functions were
same as that of pudamuri but they were less expensive
and conducted in a small scale.
Giving way of pudava was not done in the Sambandham of South
Malabar and Kidakka Kalyanam of Palakkad. Instead
of Pudava, cash will be given. The bride will not
be taken to the bridegroom’s residence. Therefore, there
will not be any reception.
Sayanapradikshnam is an offering in temples
for the relief from illness as well as for fulfillment of desired
aspiration. After lying on the floor of the temple in
a praying mood one has to roll round the temple pradishkshna
(round) way. Usually three or more round are taken,
practice of taking the idol of Gods to outside the sanctum
sanctorum every day is known as Seeveli.
There are different types of seevelis like
Ethritha Seeveli, Uccha Seeveli and Athazha Seeveli.
It was Sreebhoothabali that was converted as
Shodashacharangal is the sixteen rites
to be performed by the male members of Namboothiri community.
Without performing the shodashacharangal a Namboothiri
will not become a real Brahmin. Female members of the community
are also expected to follow certain among these rites. The sixteen
rites are: (1) Sekom, (2) Pumsavanam, (3) Seemantham, (4)
Vishnubali, (5)Jathakarma,(6) Namakarana, (7) Nishkramanom,
(8) Annaprasanam, (9) Choulam, (10)Karnavedham, (11) Upanayanam,
(12) Vedarambhom, (13) Kesantham, (14) Samavarthanam, (15) Vivaham,
and (16) Adhanam.
The vrutha (penance) observed on Monday is known
as Somavaravrutham. It is beneficial for married
life. Prayer at Siva temple has to be done in the morning.
Fasting is to be performed in daytime. During dusk, temple
visit is a must. Somam is equal to “Sa + Uma” meaning
to worship God Siva with Uma (Parvathy). It is believed that
Parvathy observed Somavaravrutham to get Lord Siva as her husband.