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Ramayana Masam: The traditional practice of reading Ramayana during the pious month of Karkkidakam

Another significant tradition associated with Ramayana Masam is the practice of observing a major pilgrimage called Naalambala Darshanam by the Hindu devotees

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Ramayana masam
Rama breaking the bow to win Sita as wife. Wikimedia Commons
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  • Also known as Karkadaka Masam, every devout Hindu household during this time reverberates with recitals from Ramayana
  • ‘Amavasya’ (no moon day), dedicated to the ancestors is also a distinct one during this period
  • While Karkkidakam  is considered to be an auspicious month, filled with spirituality, no new function and business venture are started during it

Observed in the Malayalam month of Karkkidakam  (July-August), Ramayana Masam is a popular festival in Kerala. Also known as Karkadaka Masam, every devout Hindu household during this time reverberates with recitals from Ramayana.

The recitals are also performed by various Hindu organizations in temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Ramayana Masam 2016 began on July 16 and will end on August 16, when the narration of the verses would stop.

During the festival, all the members of the household gather after sunset and recite the verses of Malayalam version of the Ramayana titled ‘Adhyatma Ramayanam Kilippattu’ (translated by Thunchath Ezhuthachan).

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The sacred book is read under ‘Nilavilakku’ or the traditional Kerala lamp. Interestingly, the verses are read in a way that the last recital takes place on the last day of Karkkidakam, says an article in prokerala.com.

Rama sending his signet ring to Sita through Hanuman. Wikimedia Commons
Rama sending his signet ring to Sita through Hanuman. Wikimedia Commons

Apart from reading Ramayana, several plays, quiz competitions based on the holy book, recitals and public discourses are also organized throughout the month.

Another significant tradition associated with Ramayana Masam is the practice of observing a major pilgrimage called Naalambala Darshanam by the Hindu devotees. The believers undertake the pilgrimage to the temples of Ram, Bharathan, Lakshmanan and Shathrugnan, the four brothers and all in a single day.

‘Amavasya’ (no moon day), dedicated to the ancestors is also a distinct one during this period. On this day special rituals are carried out near the water bodies by Hindu families to ensure that their dead family members are at peace. This ritual is generally performed by the male member of the family.

While Karkkidakam  is considered to be an auspicious month, filled with spirituality, no new function and business venture are started during it.

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Considered to be the last month as per the Malayalam calendar, this period is also known as ‘Panja Masam’ (the period of scarcity) due to heavy rains. Since the field is flooded with water and people cannot go out, they rely on the grains stored during the last harvest season.

It is believed that to mellow down the nature’s fury, people started reading Ramayana initially and since then it has been taken forward as a tradition.

– prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff-writer at NewsGram. Twitter handle: iBulbul_

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Franco Mulakkal, bishop of the Indian city of Jalandhar, center, whom a nun has accused of rape, leaves after appearing for questioning by police in Kochi, India, Sept. 19, 2018. The bishop has denied the accusation. VOA

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