Saturday, January 14, 2017

Kanu pongal - a festival to pray to welfare of their brothers by ladies

A festival when Brahmin ladies pray   for the welfare  of their brothers. For a moment each lady is transported to their childhood  when they used to live and play   with their brothers, You can have a glimpse of the festival in

Kanu pongal  - a festival to pray to welfare of  their brothers by ladies

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(This write up is mainly based on the tamil write up sent by Whatsapp to me by Alamelu Ramadas(My sister-in law’s daughter. Thanks to her.  In Kerala Tamil Brahmins do not consider it as a festival to pray for the prosperity of their brothers but in Tamil Nadu  , one of the impotant aim is to pray for welfare of their brothers. Normally brothers  in Tamil Nadu do give cash gifts to their sisters during the occasion.)

Tomorrow  (The  day after Thai pongal)  is celebrated  as Mattu pongal by the farming community of Tamil Nadu.  The Brahmins   celebrate it as Kanu  Pongal. Even the three  Goddesss in KUmbhakonam viz  KOmalavalli thayar  , Goddess SIta and Vijayavallithayar   celebrate Kanu pidi on the steps of Pothamarai kulam. The offerings are done by their priests.

The festival is celebrated   at dawn before taking bath .All ladies (including small girls)  then  prepare  rice of different colours made by mixing Turmeric, Kumkuman and  curd  chadham (white) , prepared out of  rice boiled with milk of the previous day,
    . Then all  of them   visit older Sumangali women (Some references say that  this is done after  offering Kakaakai pidi and taking bath)  along with fresh turmeric   tubers  and ask them to mark their forehead with   those  tubers(manjal Kizhangu) ,They also do it with joy while telling  the following auspicious blessing viz 

THayodum  , thanthayodum,
Cheerodum chirappodum ,
Perodum  pugazhodum ,
Perumayodum, keerthiyodum,
Chiru vayathil    thali ketti,
Periyavalaaki  , pillaikal pethru
KOndavan manam magizha,
THayyal naagi poala,
THonga thonga   thaali ketti  ,
Thottilum pilaayumaage ,
Maamiyaar maamanaar mecha,
Nathiyum mamiyum pothra,
Piranthagathor  perumai vilanga ,
Pethra pillaigal aayul onga  ,
Uthraar uravinarodu  ,
Puthaadai puthu malar   choodi 
Puthu maapillai marumagalodu  ,
Puthu puthu  santhosham perugi  ,
AAl poal thazhaithu  Aruge pal yer odi,
Yendrendrm vaazhanam,
Yeppothum chiritha  mugathudan irukkanam 
(.       தாயோடும், தந்தையோடும்,
            சீரோடும். ,    சிறப்போடும்,  
           பேரோடும்,    புகழோடும்,
             பெருமையோடும், கீர்த்தியோடும
            பெரியவளாகி  பிள்ளைகள் பெற்று
            தையல்நாயகி    போலத்
          தொங்கத்தொங்க த்தாலிகட்டித்
            தொட்டிலும், பிள்ளையுமாக,
           மாமியார்     மாமனார்  மெச்ச,
           நாத்தியும்    மாமியும்  போற்ற
        பிறந்தகத்தோர்பெருமை விளங்க,ப்,
       பெற்ற பிள்ளைகள் , ஆயுள். ஓங்க,
      உற்றார்         உறவினரோடு
          புத்தாடை.   புது மலர். சூடி
      புது மாப்பிள்ளை ,   மருமகளோடு,
        புது. புது  சந்தோஷம்  பெருகி,
ஆல்போல். தழைத்து. அருகே போல்ஏரோடி
          என்றென்றும்,   வாழணும்
எப்போதும் சிரித்த முகத்தோடுஇருக்கணும்.)

Which loosely translated means:-

“Along with  mother and father,
With  wealth and prosperity,
With great name   and fame  ,
Getting married at  young age,
After maturing  giving birth to children,
Making the husband  happy ,
Like   the goddess THayyal Nayagi,
With  mangala suthra hanging  well,
Along with cradle and children,
Being appreciated by   father in law  and  mother in law ,
With  taken care of well  by mother  in law and sister in law,
Winning great name to the home of your birth,
With your own children living very long,
Along with friends   and relatives ,
Wearing new cloths and getting decorated with new flowers,
Along with new son in law and daughter  in law ,
With new and new joys ebbing out,
Spreading like a banyan tree,
Developing  deep roots like Arugam grass,
You should   live forever,
You should always be   with a smiling   face .”

Then all ladies  return to their homes  and  keep  Kaakkai Pidi( on turmeric leaves  ( Fist full of different rice  for the crow)
Sprinkle water over them as well as round them  , ring the religious bell, show camphor  and pray as follows :-

Kaaka Pidi vechen,
Kanu Pidi vechen,
Kaakai kku  yellam  Kalyanam,
Kaakkai kootam pirinthalum ,
Yen kootam piriyathu  irukkanam 
Kuruvi kki seemandham,
Pukkakam Pongi Vaazhattum,
Pirandhaam Thazhaithu   Vaazhattum.

The verse loosely translated would mean   :

One small ball of food for the crow,
One small ball of food for the Kanu festival
 marriage day   for all crows,
Even if the crowd of crows separate out,
My family should not get separated,
Sparrow’s baby shower (seemantham)
Let the in-laws house overflow with goodies,
Let the house that we were born in,  be forever prosperous

    Afterwardss all ladies  Salute those offerings , then take bath  , prepare various  mixed rices  (On that day   all married ladies of the house  prepare  several  Mixed  rices(Kalantha Chadham),. White curd rice   Rices like lemon  lemon rice(yellow) . Tamarind rice(dark brown) , THengai CHadham  etc are prepared ) offer them to God and later the family have a great picnic lunch in their homes only
Just like the group of crows never separate ,
It is believed we also  would live together   always.

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