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Sunday, June 17, 2007

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The bowl of red liquid from the look of it, is the traditional aarathy (pronounced that way). The pronunciation can vary depending on the language but 'aarathy' is something which most people would understand.They are verses or sonnets in praise of a God. 'Aarathys' are performed during a pooja (prayers). 'Aarathy' can also be performed during any auspicious occasion like a wedding, welcoming a new bride (or a special guest), bangle ceremony. A song is usually sung during the process (while performing the aarathy). I am named after the same 'Aarathy' and trust me it has got nothing to do with fertility ;o). Hence i was prompted from my usual lurking to posting a comment. One more thing the decked up 'pseudo' baby is no gourd or melon ;o). It is a carved stone (ammi-kozhavi) that is part of the traditional hand operated blender. It was used traditionaly for grinding spices and condiments that need to be added while cooking. I still have the one my grandmother used at home. Though never used, it reminds me how lucky I am to have such amenities that were a dream to my grandmothers and their mothers.

Hi Basia, thank you for sharing all these moments and pictures with us... I discovered your blog last week only and I must admit I love it... it makes me laugh so much, I had to share many stories you wrote with my husband (himself from Chennai), as I am myself discovering the Tamil culture being married into this environment... keep the good work, it is simply amazing.

Aarthi: Thanks for de-lurking, and for the clarifications. I always appreciate it when my readers shed more light on some of the rituals that I observe and photograph. No wonder I couldn't tell whether it was a melon or a gourd...it was neither... ;o) Regarding the "aarthi" -- is the bowl with red water meant to symbolize something? There weren't any verses or sonnets accompanying it -- each of the women just picked up the bowl and held it near Chitra for a second or two.

Gayathri L: Welcome to the blog, glad to hear you have been enjoying it!

Basia, as usual, you have summarized the event perfectly. I am an ardent fan of your writing skills and this entry has come out very very well.
Thank you for the photos, they are great!!!! I have picked up a few which I plan to frame.

Hi Basia,
That's a very good account of valakappu. The red liquid or aarathy is believed to ward off all evil eyes and jealousy. They ususally end up pouring it outside the home, indicating that all the bad eyes cast on the person has bee transferred to that liquid and symbolises that the feelings of hatred and jealousy that could affect the person is now cast away.

Chitra: You are most welcome...it was an honor for me to attend this beautiful ceremony. I can't wait for the little one to get here....

Priya R: Thanks for the clarification..it's always great for me to learn more about all the rituals I'm witnessing in India...

What a great story and wonderful pictures....
Hey, I was at a lake this weekend... trying to be Basia the photographer- somehow my dock ever the water picture just did not come out looking like it would have if you would have taken it!!!!!!!!

Great photographs! I would say these photographs are a substitute to video files as they vividly depict the bangle ceremony. Moreover, the nuggets in the “Edutainment” category are excellent pieces of information. Even my friends appreciate your knack to teach through photographs. I request you to add more nuggets to the “Edutainment” category.

I'm going to a bangle Ceremony, as a guest, do I bring something??

Melanie: I was asking the same question before I went. Most people told me you don't need to bring anything. I was told that those very close to the mom-to-be (mainly her relatives) get her a saree or something like that. A couple people suggested a small gift like a kum-kum holder. But at the event itself, I noticed a lot of people giving small envelopes with cash in them, so I guess that's probably acceptable too.

How to say "Happy Baby shower!"

Thank you

Wonderful baby shower ever and the pictures were taken and presented very well too!

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