Thursday, June 16, 2005

Arthi's Vallaikappu

Vallaikappu is baby shower in western speak. Vallaikappu is a combination of two words - vallai - meaning round (as in bangle) and kappu - meaning protection. This is a ceremony performed in South India during the 7th month of pregnancy for women.

The pregnant woman is made to wear many glass bangles - an odd number on one hand and an even number on the other - in addition to a set of gold and silver bangles. She is given many gifts and after this function the pregnant woman goes to her mother's place for childbirth.

The emotional part of the child's brain is said to be developed in the 7th month. As the mother recieves gifts and is adorned in bangles - she is happy and this happiness is transferred to the baby. Further, as this is the time the baby can also hear clearly, the sound from the clanging of the glass bangles amuses the baby.

Arthi's vallaikappu took place on the 10th of June at her parent's home in Chennai. A few photos of the function can be seen at
http://photos.yahoo.com/arthivraman

A little bit about bangles from an article in the Hindu titled Epitome of Feminine Grace to end this blog.

Bangles, the decorative ornaments of women, have over the centuries acquired a socio-cultural-religious significance. Literature through the ages has glorified this ornament and made it the epitome of feminine grace.

The ornament was purely a decorative accessory in the pre-Vedic era and even in the post-Vedic times until the medieval period. Medieval India gave Hinduism a chauvinistic twist distorting Vedic concepts and introduced ritualistic beliefs. It was at this stage that the bangle was transformed from a mere decoration to a symbol of marriage. The bangle thus began to gain social significance and ritualistic relevance.

Sarojini Naidu extols them as ''The rainbow tainted circles of light lustrous tokens of radiant light'. 'Truly, bangles' circles of light are an inseparable part of Indian woman without which she is incomplete. From a suckling to the grey-haired they lend an inexplicable charm and dignity. They are as varied as the womanfolk itself in their appeal and beauty. The tender feminine grace acquires an additional sheen with them. They are as old as the Vedas. Whatever the impact of changing times and fashions, bangles continue to have their undiminished sway particularly in the celebration of any occasion from a simple birthday to a grand marriage.

Bangles also have traditional value. Hindu married women always wear some bangles round both their wrists as it is considered inauspicious to be bare armed.Kameswari, an architect, says that bangles do not play a role in her daily attire, but likes to wear them on occasions and festivals as bangles have sentimental value.

A teacher from Central School, R. Nagamani, says bangles are like a shadow to substance for a Hindu woman. A woman is incomplete without bangles. They are not just ornaments but a part of womanhood and honour.

.....

Bangles are not mere jewellery but an expression of feminity and is beyond class, creed and culture.

1 comment:

MB said...

Hi, I was looking for information for the Vallaikappu ceremony to explain to some friends. I found one your blog and am reusing parts of it for some pictures for my wife's ceremony. Hope this is not a problem.

Cheers,
MB (stoic74 at the rate of hotmail dot com)