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- The aanayoottu (feeding the elephant) is a festival that takes place in Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur, Kerala. In this festival, there’s an interesting sight of a long row of elephants feasting on jaggery, palm leaves, and coconut
- Karkidaka Masam comes with the raging monsoon, brings farming to a halt and confines people to their homes, has deep religious significance to it and also health rejuvenation rituals
- Seated around the nilavilakku, elders read the Ramayana to family members, a tradition that aims to imbibe the values learned from the epic but also helps to have the strength to face the tough times, and this also lent Karkidakam its more popular name – the Ramayana Masam (month)
Kerala, August 2, 2017: The holy month of Karkidaka Masam, famously known as Ramayana Masam is celebrated with great fervor in Kerala. The name Karkidaka is because in this month there’s the sun’s transition to Karkidaka Rasi from the Mithuna Rasi, this Malayalam month is observed from 17 July to 16 August. It is said that the festival witness’s scarce attendees nowadays but it seems to have acquired a refined format and adapted to the ‘next-gen’ liking which is very different from the solemn observance of the season by an agrarian society that once was Kerala.
The aanayoottu (feeding the elephant) is a festival that takes place in Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur, Kerala. In this festival, there’s an interesting sight of a long row of elephants feasting on jaggery, palm leaves, and coconut. It occurs during Karkidakam celebrations. This festival is celebrated with the belief that offering puja and providing delicious and healthy food to elephants is a way to propitiate Lord Ganesha, the elephant-faced God according to Hindu faith.
At Sri Krishna Temple of Guruvayoor, the temple elephants can be seen being pampered with a rejuvenation therapy called sukhachikilsa which includes- herbal solutions, body wraps, and a special diet.
As soon as the Karkidaka Masam ends Chinga Masam begins. It is the month of the Onam festival and a period which witnesses many festivals. Another associated concept is Illam nira (fill the house) festival in Kerala, it is related to harvest which symbolically represents a prayer for prosperity. In this festival, special pujas are performed for the newly reaped paddy spikes at temples and are celebrated during Karkidakam.
A typical Karkidaka Masam stays true to its purpose. It comes with the raging monsoon, brings farming to a halt and confines people to their homes, has deep religious significance to it and also health rejuvenation rituals.
The traditional lamps called nilavilakku take center stage across the yards of Kerala households, their flames fill brightness in the dark nights, especially during this monsoon month. Seated around the nilavilakku, elders read the Ramayana to family members, a tradition that aims to imbibe the values learned from the epic but also helps to have the strength to face the tough times, and this also lent Karkidakam its more popular name – the Ramayana Masam (month).
According to a report by Swarajya website, Rajagopalan M K, retired assistant commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowment, Kerala, said “The reading of the Ramayana helps tide over hardship like the Karkidaka Masam. With inundated fields beyond their access, people spend their time in pursuit of cleansing the body and mind. They read the Ramayana to prepare themselves to brace for the panja (lean) Masam.”
Though the roots of nilavilakku still hold its own, Kerala, today, has been mostly getting drifted away from the Karkidaka customs in its original form. Malayalees use the Ramayana’s audio version for their children to teach them the essence of the epic, yet another storytelling ritual modified by modernity. But Rajagopalan says there is thankfully a sustaining interest in Karkidaka events, despite the big change in lifestyle and livelihood. “There is a 40% increase in the restoration of its activities and the number of people mingling in with the aura generated during this season is rising by the year.”
Kerala’s extended home, the Gulf region, observes Karkidakam too. The Malayalees there do it too, perhaps, to not be left behind in the race to preserve cultural values. Temples, religious and spiritual organizations have kept Ramayana Masam celebrations alive by ensuring their continuity through elaborate programmes, public discourses, plays, recitals and competitions based on the Ramayana. These kinds of initiatives take the nitty-gritty of the season through television to the drawing rooms of Malayalees around the world.
The fifth segment of the Ramayana portraying Lord Hanuman, Sundara Kandam is mostly chosen to be read during this time. “Who could be a better role model than Hanuman, someone who is wise and powerful, for the younger generation? Humility despite the strength, Hanuman’s single-minded focus and devotion to his lord Maryada Purushottam Rama, these are some of the values that can be inculcated in the young,” Rajagopalan said.
The Ramayana is read for another and a more scientific reason. Karkidakam marks the beginning of the second part of the Hindu year, Dakshinayana, during which the sun moves in the southern direction, impacts the health of mind and body and its low rays affect immunity and digestive powers. A combination of worship, fasting, and practice of rituals helps overcome diseases and achieve tranquility of the mind, a reason why the Ramayana, which shows the path of righteousness, is read with fervor.
A person indulging in various ayurvedic treatments is also because of its positive impact on health. In today’s times, ayurvedic health resorts utilize the Karkidaka period in a profitable way and offer treatment package, rejuvenating spa holiday and thus in a way contributing in diluting the traditional essence of the period. There is an ayurvedic blend, oushada kanji which is prepared with rice as the base and many other herbal ingredients boiled in coconut or cow’s milk and jaggery. It is a herbal gruel savored at dawn and dusk during this month to spruce up health and aids in body purification. Nowadays, it is an instant affair as the kanji mix can be bought off the shelves of a department store. Though, it is distributed by certain institutions and organizations working hard to promote the centuries old tradition, with the body getting the nourishment in the process.
Ever wondered from where this reading a Ramayana practice began from? It began in the sixteenth century when the most elementary version of the epic- Adhyathma Ramayanam Kilippattu crafted by Thunjathu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, called the ‘father of Malayalam language.’
This month is also marked by a day’s pilgrimage to the four temples in the Thrissur district, dedicated to Rama in Triprayar, and his brothers, Bharatha in Irinjalakuda, Lakshmana in Moozhikkulam and Shatrughna in Payamma, known as naalambala darsanam (pilgrimage to four temples). The trip was undertaken by foot in the bygone days when the pilgrims sought to reflect on and celebrate the bond shared by the brothers and it’s replaced by package tours now.
Karkidakam also denotes the panchamahayajna (five duties) of a Hindu householder, and of that the pitri yajna has great importance. The amavasya (no moon) day of this month marks with the chanting of pitri puja mantras in the wee hours of the morning. Karkidaka Bali is a ritual performed by hundreds of men, women, and children for their departed ancestors in batches of hundreds. The event is marked by a huge footfall across the state and is believed to be a homage to the departed souls that will help them attain moksha (salvation).
The first day of Karkidakam which is July 16 is welcomed with obeisance to Lord Ganesha. This is marked by inviting the elephants into the Shiva temple of Vadakkunnathan at the heart of Thrissur, and offering them a special feast. A day before the month begins with the house tidied up as part of Karkidaka sankranti rituals and it is prepared for the visit of goddess Lakshmi.
Karkidakam may have modified with time to be a spa-style experience, yet it still represents the earnestness to understand tradition and utilize them to our full benefit. It represents a life protocol where a man is restricted by nature from venturing out and instead to use the time to introspect and dwell on divinity and health.
– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08.
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By Siddhi Jain
The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.
Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background
'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash
Written for a global audience, the book is targeted at kids between the ages of five and 10, the reason it is embellished with colourful images of families of different types is to appeal to children's sense of sight and drive home the message at the same time. Borthakur believes children are the best place to start because the ages between five and 10 are the most formative, where little ones pick up habits, beliefs and perceptions.
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits, I simply want to do my part as a parent. It is important that we impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone." The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories, untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defense of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu. By September 30, this title, priced at Rs 299, will be available online and in offline bookstores. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Book, children, Guwahati, Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories, moral, story, kids, discrimination, equality
If you feel that clean and well-groomed hands are just an essential prerequisite for women, you might like to think twice. Men should equally pay attention to their hands because our hand houses 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of its skin. You can easily assume what havoc it can create in our body because in India we have the culture of eating with our hands and spaces beneath nails can become breeding heaven for germs. Moreover, clean and maintained hands boost confidence in their daily life activities. Therefore, it's important to keep your hands clean irrespective of your gender by washing or sanitizing at regular intervals. And, to keep them groomed, you don't have to visit a salon.
Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:
* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.
You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. | Photo by Aurélia Dubois on Unsplash
* Clip your nails regularly: Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. After cutting your nails at a comfortable length also file them using a nail filer. Never share your nail care clipper as the germs can get transferred to your loved ones. Also, don't forget to use grime remover to remove hidden germs in corners and beneath nails. Also, you may like to file your nails to have a smooth finish.
* Good quality Nail Clipper: Do not use a rusted or chromium coated nail clipper as it might be harmful to skin and might cause dangerous bacterial infections.
* Stop the habit of nail chewing: Sometimes anxiety or extreme boredom can lead to chewing of nails. This habit only makes your nails uneven and ugly. Sometimes, our unclean nail folds give rise to viral, bacterial or fungal infections, which in turn can make us sick if we chew our nails.
Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. | Pixabay
* Exfoliate your hands: Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. You can buy a scrub or make one at home using brown sugar and olive oil. After scrubbing, you need to massage your hands with moisturizer.
Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. | Wikipedia
* Don't use your nails as tools: Always keep in mind that your nails are like jewels. Never use them to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters, or scraping off labels. This results in unnecessary breakage of nails, making your hands look dirty.
Never use your nails to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters or scraping off labels. | Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash
* Be aware of nail or cuticle inflammation or redness: If there are any signs of infection, disinfect the skin as soon as possible with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ointment.
(Article originally written by N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Nails, groom, hand, exfoliate, chew, nail clipper, bite, cuticle
Bitcoin has become an essential crypto asset in modern portfolios and investment funds. The confidence generated in this cryptocurrency will depend a lot on the diversification that companies make in their balance sheets in Bitcoin and the increase of institutional investors that allocate a percentage of their funds in this crypto. American fund manager Cathie Wood makes some interesting predictions, both in the rise that the Bitcoin price will experience in the next 5 years, suggesting these institutional investors allocate 5% of their funds; this will help leverage the Bitcoin market.
Bitcoin will grow by a tenfold
Bitcoin is projected to grow by 10 times its current value in five years, i.e., it could reach $500,000. Of course, this will require companies to invest in cryptocurrencies. This makes it necessary to increase the weight of Bitcoin on balance sheets through investments. One of the investment gurus who supports this prediction is Catherine Wood. Contrarily, Ray Dalio, despite being clear that relying on cash is not a good strategy, views Bitcoin with suspicion, although he calls for its investment. This behavior is due to the actions of governments against the cryptocurrency market.
If something is undoubted is the vertiginous increase that cryptocurrencies have had in general, they have risen more than 60% so far this year. So, even when some governments are trying to regulate cryptocurrencies, they will fail. This attempt to regulate will end up triggering even more cryptos, especially Bitcoin, which is the oldest and most solid of that market.
Bitcoin, is the oldest and most solid of the market. | Photo by Executium on Unsplash
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The current Bitcoin price means is time to buy:
The current price of bitcoin invites you to buy, and perhaps it would be foolhardy not to. In either case, bitcoin will always represent money. Maybe some external factors generate some misgivings, but if you refuse to invest in cryptocurrencies, you are basically denying the near future, it would be as if you didn't have a cell phone or internet.
In India, more and more people are becoming convinced of the benefits of holding some Bitcoin. This can be clearly seen in the rapid increase in the number of new accounts at crypto exchanges such as WazirX and CoinDCX.
ALSO READ: How can you trade in Bitcoin in India?
Bitcoin, despite its fluctuations, represents an excellent financial strategy. The support users give is significant. The same cannot be said of the FIAT currencies, which have lost value and support, showing how fragile they are, being subjected to a constant devaluation. As long as confidence in cryptos grows, the foundations will continue to be laid to maintain their rise and to be able to continue making transactions. We know this by previous experience, as has happened with Ether, thanks mainly to the growing activity of Defi and NFT, i.e. decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens.
Remember that when you invest in Bitcoin, you can do it by buying or trading. When you want to make these transactions do it in a secure Exchange, study your finances to invest, manage the risk, and learn to manage your portfolio efficiently.