Friday, August 28, 2015

Avaniyavattam seventy years back in my village Chelakkara , Kerala

Avaniyavattam seventy years back in my village  Chelakkara , Kerala
By
P.R.Ramachander
      I am sure  you would be surprised at my spelling of Avaniyavattam.  That is what we used to call   the Upakarma or Avani avittam  during those days in my little village  of Chelakkara.(Even today , I am not familiar with  names of Tamil months)  While all the 18 villages of Palakkad   were agraharams , Chelakkara   was  far removed from them  and was a very small village  , which we in our lingua used to call Otha madam i.e  Homes  separated from each other by a compound surrounding them.  WE were an island amidst Malayali homes   and  our best friends were Malayalis  .Whenever we wantd to discuss anything seriously within our homes  , it was in Malayalam .In our village  most of the vegetables were  home grown.Things like tomato  or  Kothamalli   were  not simply available. I always thought   that the way we celebrate  festivals   was different  from Tamil Brahmins of Tamil Nadu and possibly also from Palakkad  Agraharams.
      Avaniavattam used   to start in the early morning   with young boys taking a  Stick of Palasa  tree(PLasu)   and going to every Brahmin home  in the village   jointly shouting
  “Avaiavattam Komanam ,
   Ambi poranthal Shobhanam
Akka  porantha Ukkarai,
Ammaan porantha Ayiram panam,
Patti porantha Bakshanam
Patta  porantha  Pazhukka  Vadi”
   (since it was  so long ago that I heard this , I might have committed mistakes. Do correct me.)
In every home , the mama would be waiting with a Kaupeenam to be given to each boy.  In some rich house   they used to give Pattu KOmanam(silk Kaupreena)   and some  very rich  houses    they would give 4  Anna coin   (25 paise coin). Only boys whose poonal  is not  celebrated can go for this.
On the avaniavittam day , early  morning all  boys whose poonal is over and all Mamas as well as Thathas  have  to get their  hair cut. Compulsorily  During those   times , there  were two village barbers called Govindan and appukuttan. People would be queuing up   to get their  cut  early moning. After bath, all  people would have   a break fast of Idly and then around  10 Am  they all   would go to the Samoohathu Madam(community hall of the village   and  the front courtyard of the temple. There were two vadhyars in the village during those times. Saminatha Vadhyar who belonged to the  chelakkara village itself and Sami Vadhyar who had come  from Ayilur and settled down there. So the avaniavattam    would be observed in two places. All the young boys whose poonal   had not been celebrated would have a Kalla Poonal  .Most of the Mamis and girls   also would come there.After  Madhyaneekam (now almost no body does it)  , followed by Brahma Yagnam and the Maha Sankalpam   every one  assembled there would go to the village tank to take bath  .Only on that particular day we would be able to see   all mamas and Thathas  jumping in to the tank one by one to take bath.After  the bath every one  would go back to the Vadhyar. The women folk would have brought  dry cloths for them to change  .Then after Kanda Rishi Tharpanam, there would  be  a community Veda Parayanam, followed by Gayathri  Homam.It was at this time  all those who were attending their first avani  avittam  would be undergoing special rituals like tying of the deer skin and a  rope made  of flax tied around them. By that time , the Mamis would return home to prepare  the avaniyavattam feast  .

   I am recollecting all those pleasant  memories after  going to Upakarma  arranged by  an industrialist in Koramangala, Bangalore . The camaraderie  or the homely sweetness   which we had during those   times has completely disappeared. All people only want to change their poonal and rush to office .Things are bound to change but should it change so much   , that   we are not enjoying the only male  centric festival  of Tamil Brahmins.

1 comment:

Seethalakshmi Iyer said...

You have echoed our palghat feelings.the women folks sing songs while taking bath in river, while circumbulating Trichur siva temple the order in which you worship is done through a prayer sing so you don't forget the sequence. I think in one of your blog you had mentioned it is not changing poonal alone..prayaschitta .

Yes, in Gulf countries Friday weekly holiday facilitate their worshipBritish had ontroduced Sunday for weekly prayers..again for seeking pardon. We have so much flexibility, we have abdicated..I wear 9 yards, enroute to tula snana..when I went to Kailash, I did this..my close relatives chided me, but when Jains visit temples daily they adorn their traditilnal wear.

This year varalaxmi, onam avani avittam all on same day. Vamana aeeks bhiksha from Devi his sister...so Raksha bandan bonding boy and girl..Onam onnukoodi unnal, everyone assembles to cook and eat together, avani avittam a community get together..all this reminds us of parasparam bhavayantha , oneness in our diverse feelings and faith..in the name of modern outlook , we are ashamed of our samskaras, what we have is bestowed by our ancestors, but we take pride as if we have discovered the talent. The sayings, subhashitham, pazhnchol, wise quotes are never imbibed in todays education, moral stories are amiss, Onternat of things have made everyone the author..but our scrips, epics are sieved and best are hosted there. The void remains, the search continues, rituals are forgotten, only to be discovered in foreign shores or research study...the Palghat brahmins , ladies, are upholding the trafitions..kalpathi ratholsavam is the brain child of Mayavaram mami, Koduvayur ther also tamil concept, sastha preethi..the brahmana samooham there are doing yeomen service

Happy onam