High Spirited Sree's blog

Karkadaka Vavu (കര്‍ക്കടക വാവ്)

Posted on: August 2, 2009

Location: Religion/ Occasions / Karkadaka Vavu

I had already mentioned the holiness of this month in my earlier post. A very important day in this month is ‘Karutha vavu'(കറുത്ത വാവ്) which means new moon day in Malayalam . 21 July was Karutha vavu and on this day all Hindus perform sacred rituals, for their dead relatives and ancestors which is called ‘bali'(ബലി), and is considered highly auspicious. Members of every family gather at temples, near river banks or sea shores and perform the rituals.

A ‘bali’ is normally done immediately after a person dies and repeated every year on the moon sign of the demise day. Its a set of rituals performed by the dead person’s son or relatives, to enable the dead person attain Moksha. I couldn’t find any article explaining in detail the steps in the rituals. I know only vaguely, so when I manage to find someone to explain me , I will make sure to blog it. 🙂 Its an interesting subject!!

Two years back we visited Thiruvallam Parusuram temple in Thiruvananthapuram. Its considered to be a holy place for doing ‘bali’ rituals. The crowd was enormous. 1000 people were allowed in one go to perform the ritual, with a priest giving directions. We were lucky to enter in the first 1000, which started by morning 4:00. It took us 3o min to complete the rituals. I guess this goes on till afternoon. Imagine the crowd!! There are several such holy places throughout Kerala.

Among the Hindus in Kerala, during celebrations or any occasions non-veg is completely avoided. On the day of ‘bali’, normally a fasting is also taken by the person performing the rituals. People from Kerala or South India in general, mainly eat rice, in various form thrice a day. The person performing ‘bali’ is to take rice only one time a day.

In most of the houses ‘Vavu ada’ (വാവ് അട) is prepared, which is a preparation of rice flour dough stuffed with jaggery and coconut scraped. Its wrapped in banana leaf and steamed.

I did a trial!! I didn’t get a banana leaf so I prepared without it. To be honest I actually prepared a flat shaped kozhukatta(കൊഴുക്കട്ട) :-). Maybe when I actually prepare the exact ‘vavu ada’ I will add those snaps too.


2 Responses to "Karkadaka Vavu (കര്‍ക്കടക വാവ്)"

Once I have read a few details on why this specific day is selected for bali.It is assumed that our ancestors are staying on the side of the moon which is not visible from earth. New moon is the day when Sun rays never reaches the side of the moon which is facing earth, due to which we cannot see moon. It means that sun rays are completely on the other side of the moon, where our ancestors live, which is like noon time to them. Similarly full moon day is that day where sun rays are completely on the side of moon facing earth, so it will be night time for our ancestors. So one day for our ancestors is 28 days for us, with new moon day as meal time and full moon day as mid night for them. So when we do a bali on new moon day, we are actually serving lunch for our ancestors.

So what is special for the new moon day of karkadaka? It is assumed that Devas live on Meru parvat, which is on the north pole of earth.In the Geography classes, we have learnt that there are three months in a year in north pole region, when the sun never sets. It happens when Sun is on the utharayanam and reaches the max north area. Similarly there are three months where it is completely dark there, when Sun is on the dakshinayanam. Here, we can consider that one day for Devas is same as one year for human beings, with dakshinayanam time as night and utharayanam time as day. The middle of utharayanam time is the lunch time for Devas, which comes in Karkataka vavu day!

So we are choosing that day in a year when we get an opportunity to serve lunch for Devas and ancestors together.

wow!! Thanx a lot Vineet for sharing this info. I have never come across such an explanation.

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