Monday, March 14, 2011

Karadaiyan Nombu

Karadaiyan Nombu is a festival celebrated by South Indian married women in Tamil Nadu.  Karadaiyan Nonbu (pronounced 'Car-a-dye-on Nomboo') is a festival of special significance to married women all over Southern India including states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.(But i think its a different name, but the same ritual). 

This year it falls on the 14th of March and we have to make the pooja and tie the nombu charadhu(the holy thread) between 8 :30 to 9:00pm IST.

This is observed for their respective and prospective husband’s well being and that the couples should remain together always. The premise is that married women pray to never be separated from their husbands.  In tamil it goes like this.

"உருகாத வெண்ணையும் ஓர் அடையும் வைத்தேன், ஒரு காலும் என் கணவர் என்னைவிட்டு பிரியாமல் இருக்க வேண்டும்".

This festival is especially observed by the women of Tamil Nadu.  It is celebrated at the conjunction of the Tamil months Masi and Panguni. It is to remember the great battle won by Savithri - a mythological character - over the God of Death - Yama, not by arms or ammunitions but by her clever arguments to regain her husband’s life. 

But, it was Savithri’s genuine prayers and bhakti to Goddess Gowri that has given her the strength and wisdom to win back her husband's life from Yaman, the Lord of Death. So,women offer their prayers to Goddess Gowri or Kamakshi following the footsteps of Savithri to plead for a long married life (Dheerga Sowmangalyam - they pray for longevity and welfare of their husband).

Savithri was the daughter of king Aswapathi who ruled Mathra. She was married to Sathyavan, son of another king, according to her wish. Despite Naradha’s warning that Sathyavan would die within a year of marriage, Savithri married him. But as a devout wife, she started worshipping Goddess Gowri to protect her mangalyam, - that is, to change the fate and give her husband a long life. On the first day of Panguni, the following year, fate snatched away Sathyavan suddenly. When Yama appeared to take away the life of Sathyavan, Savithri did not give up easily. She argued with Yama, and regained the life of her spouse and in addition begot four more boons too! And they lived happily ever after. Thus goes the story....

The story of Savithri's devotion to her husband Sathyavan is remembered that day, you can read about it here.

So following the tradition the nonbu is observed every year by all women to protect their mangalyam. Normally the Nonbu is observed just before the onset of Panguni, when the last few hours of Masi are left. The exact time to carry out the Nonbu would be told by the family 'vadyar mama'. The pooja room at home is lit with the traditional lamp (kuthu villaku).

Kolams are drawn (Arisi maavu will be used for this) in front of the  pooja room.  Plantain leaves will be placed in order according to the number of women and girl children in the household. If the number is an odd one, one more leaf will be placed for the Goddess. On the right corner of the plantain leaves will be placed the thamboolam along with a banana. The main item is the sacred yellow cotton string - Saradu (tied in the middle with some flower), which the vadyar mamas'normally give to every household well in advance.

On this day, two special dishes are made and offered to the Lord. One is a savoury signifying Lord Siva and the other one is a sweet signifying Goddess Shakti.(Karadais and vella adais are specially made for the occasion with rice flour,jaggery and Kaaramani - a red coloured dry beans). The adais are then placed on the plantain leaves along with 'Vennai'.

Then, every one (married women and even young girls) have to take a sort of vow in front of their offering to offer the same (" Urugada Vennaiyum oradaiyum naan tharuven - orukaalum en kanavar ennai piriyadirukkanum") meaning that year after year - their only wish being that of a long life for their spouse and tie this sacred yellow colour thread around their neck.

After offering the Nivedhyam to the Goddess, the older woman (usually paati else amma) in the house ties one of the Saradu placed in front of her to the Ambal/lakshmi  picture in the pooja room.The next day few adais are given to a cow.

Among the many festivals of South India, Karadaiyan Nonbu is more a renewal of the faith in the tradition.
Adai/Kozhakattai Sweet Version
1 cup rice flour, 1 cup jaggery, 2tsp black eye beans soaked overnight, 2 tbsp coconut pieces, cardamom powder

1. Dry roast the flour till it is slightly off white in colour (when you try putting kolam with it the flour should be flow easily the sense that the line should continuous!)
2. Boil 2 cups of water with the jaggery, black eyed beans & coconut bits, & cardamom powder. Once the jaggery has melted completely add the flour. Reduce the heat & mix & cook till the water is gone.
3. Let it cool for some time so that you can roll it without getting blisters. Roll them into balls, flatten them and make a hole in the middle.
4. Steam them in an idly steamer for 10 minutes or so.

Adai/Kozhakattai Savory Version
1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 green chili, 1tsp minced ginger, a few curry leaves, 1 tbsp coconut bits, 2 tsp black eyed peas, 1 cup rice flour

1. Splutter mustard seeds, add green chillies & ginger, curry leaves, coconut bits and the black eyed beans.
2. Add 2 cups water, salt.
3. When the water starts boiling add the flour and continue as you would in the previous recipe.

Ref : My Amma and sources on net.

No comments:

Post a Comment