Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thrissur Pooram - Part 3

The Pooram is prefixed by a series of startup activities beginning with the “Kodiyettam” or flag hoisting ceremony. It is done without any tantric rituals and the areca nut tree, chipped in 8 sides, is placed pointing north after the “Valiya Balikallu”. The post is decorated with Darba, Mango leaves and Banyan tree leaves. Right from this day till the last, “UtsavaBali” is performed with strict discipline, pouring “havis” (rice with flowers), symbolizing offerings made to the good and bad, natural and supernatural powers. The “Aarattu” is conducted by taking out the “Thidambu” (the replica of the deity) to the “Kadavu” (pond inside the temple compound), accompanied by “Vadhyam”.

The unifying factor of all poorams is this small processional image of the deity, which is placed at the base of a golden shield-like “Kolam” and is mounted atop the tallest male tusker and is flanked by other elephants. After the rituals, the thantri immerses it into the water, applies sandal water, rosewater and turmeric, and dresses it up in a new “Pattu” (silk dress). This ceremony is also to be carried out regularly from the “Kodiyettam”. Since this is a festival associated with the happiness of the harvest season, it’s a usual routine work to get the houses painted and, the streets cleaned and illuminated. It is believed that the God will travel through the streets with all pomp and show to verify the personal well-being of his devotees and in turn, his devotees offer him paddy, fruits, etc as a symbol of happiness and contentment.

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