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Karkidakam Masam in Hinduism: The Last month in the Malayalam Calendar is full of Monsoon Fury and Prayers

To regain strength, to build self-confidence and to put the” evil” at bay, people pray to the Gods until the end of the month

  • No initiative is put to implementation and celebrations such as weddings are avoided during this month
  • To regain strength, to build self-confidence and to put the” evil” at bay, people pray to the Gods until the end of the month
  • Ramayanam of Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan is recited from the very first day of Karkidakam 

Marked by a period of incessant rains, the solar month of Karkidakam also known as Ramayana Masam is filled with myths and legends and is observed from June- September, this year in 2016. Karkidakam, also known as the monsoon season, is the inauspicious nature of the last month of the Malayalam calendar (Karkidakam of Kolla varsham 1191) has created many beliefs among the people. No initiative is put to implementation and celebrations such as weddings are avoided during this month. Adding to the fear of famines and diseases, the myth that Madura was burnt down in the month of Karkidakam, creates an image of a dark period in the minds of the believers.

To regain strength, to build self-confidence and to put the” evil” at bay, people pray to the Gods until the end of the month. Various traditions are followed in this month.  It is believed that recital of the Ramayana will bring prosperity during this month of scarcity and rid the houses of all evil. It is believed that sage Valmiki completed the epic Ramayana during this month. Thus people, especially the elderly start reciting the Ramayanam of Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan from the very first day of Karkidakam with an aim to complete the recital by the month end. Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan was a was a Malayalam devotional poet as well as a linguist who translated Mahabharata and Ramayana. As it is always not possible to do so, some just read a part of it, mostly ‘Sundarakandam,’ which is the fifth book. Sales of these religious texts reach its peak just before the start of the month. Many philosophical books and religious texts are made available in the shops.

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This period also marks the beginning of  Dakshin-aayana or southern solistice. Dakashin-aayana is referred to as pithru-aayana  that is the period of migratory path of ancestral spirits and souls. Hindus pay homage to their ancestors and rituals dedicated to the dead are performed on the Amavasi or the no-moon day on the banks of the river.

The month of Karkidakam is most suitable for the Ayurvedic treatment as the monsoon rains are at its peak. The human body. Due to the moist climate, all the pores in the human body will be open and the body will be more recipient to all Ayurvedic medicines and treatments.

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A ceremony called Vedan-Paadal is conducted during this month. A boy is dressed up as the Vedan -hunter and is armed with bow and arrows and a distinct make-up. Accompanied by an attendant who carries a small drum, the boy goes to the nearby houses. He is greeted with a ceremonial welcome in each household and when the drummer chants a folk song, he enacts the role of a hunter who is trying to make a living by means of agriculture. He depicts the hardships he faces and the choices he has to make in the forest. The performance ends with the story of the pursuit of a wild boar and his triumphant encounter with Arjuna, revealing to the viewers that he is, in fact, Lord Shiva, mentioned The Hindu Website.

Of the many other customs, the Oottu or feast which lasts throughout  the lean month of Karkidakam conducted by the temple administration is the noblest one.

Cooking Karkidaka kanji, a spicy mix of rice and medicinal herbs is a part of the age-old tradition. Though very few families still make them at home, a ready mix of ‘Karkidaka kanji’ is available in the market so that everyone can continue on with the tradition.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of Newsgram

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