The other traditions of Karkidakam (Monsoon Season)
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Karkidaka ayurveda treatments, karkidaka kanji and Ramayana recital are not the only traditions we follow during this dreaded month. Cleaning the house from top to bottom, cleaning the walkways and lighting lamps are carried out to symbolize the removal of poverty and welcoming the goddess of prosperity. Even though there are slight variation in performing the rituals associated with karkidaka from place to place, the underlying thought is the same.
On the eve of Karkidakam, ie on the last day of Mithunam which is also called karkidaka sankranthi, the whole house and premises are cleaned and old clothes, furniture and other things are thrown away under the guidance of the eldest lady of the house. All the unwanted stuffs and dry leaves are burnt. During the burning they repeatedly chant chette po…. Seepothi vaa, ie chetta the symbol of bad fortune is asked to go and seepothi the goddess of prosperity, wealth and happiness is invited. In some areas chilli, turmeric, salt, dry cooked rice etc are also burnt along.
This evening is also associated with the strange tradition of getting rid of kaliyan. Small models of agricultural equipments, cow, cow shed etc are made with banana stem, coconut leaf sticks, arrow root seeds and jack fruit leaves and are placed under the jack fruit tree along with charcoal, dishes made of rice, turmeric, jack fruit seeds and are burnt. A song is sung by the whole family which means “ hey kaliya when you leave please give us prosperity the coming year and fill our house with happiness and wealth. “
As a continuation of the ritual, dasapushpam ( atleast 1 or 2), tulasi and water are placed in traditional brassware called kindi and is kept in the courtyard or the front room of the house. Normally it is done by the women of the house after taking bath early in the morning. In some places betel leaves, sindoor, traditional valkannadi etc are also kept. This is done during the whole month of karkidaka, every day keeping fresh flowers and leaves along with pure water. This ritual is called seepothi vekkal. The previous day seepothi is thrown away with the help of an old broom and a sieve.This is to get rid of the evil called kalichi. By this ritual it is believed that all the evil and misfortune is thrown away from the house and the premise is now ready to welcome the new year. This process is done for a full month to welcome the next month Chingam.
The traditions look quite strange and is least followed now a days. But when we think of it, these traditions involve a lot of cleaning and maintaining hygiene at home. It also guides one to have a positive mindset and welcome the future, expecting it to be good.