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Vechu Namaskaaram

This "good deed" ("Salkarmam") is a form of offering ("daanam") to Brahmanans to please them, just as an offering to gods in temples. The name indicates the way it is done. Pleasing of Brahmanans, just as pleasing of the gods, is believed to wash away sins and elevate one spiritually.

Many families among the upper castes would fix certain days every year for "Vechu Namaskaaram", in their Illams or in temples. Such days are usually known beforehand and the authorised "Karmis" (perform of such rites) and Bhattathiris are supposed to attend without specific invitation; ie., they have a standing invitation.

When they arrive, they are received warmly, offered oil bath and fresh clothes. After their daily prayers, the ritual is performed before meals. It may be held in the morning or evening. It is performed in the "Patinjaatti" (western part of the quadrangle, "Nadumittam") or "Thekkini" (southern part) or other convenient place. In front of a lighted lamp, they will all be seated on "Aavanappalakaas" (low wooden seats), facing east if in the morning, and west if in the evening. Near the lamp, will be kept another such seat.

As the non-Brahmanans such as Ambalavaasis and Nairs offer "Thirumulkkaazhcha" to Namboothiris, the head of the family then places a small piece of plantain leaf containing money, betel leaf and arecanut, on the "palaka" (seat) kept near the lamp, and circumambulate all the persons seated there (collectively) once and prostrate in front of them three times. Only the head of the family places the offering on the seat but all the other members join in the circumambulation and in prostrating. The Karmis keep on clapping their hands all the while. After this, when they all get seated, the Karmis stand up, touch the money on the seat, and bless them by keeping both hands on the head of each of the seated persons. The Karmis share the money offered, equally. There is usually a feast following "Vechu Namaskaaram".

| Article No:4.8 | Last update of this article:1st August 2000 |
Source: "Ente Smaranakal"- Vol. 2, by Kanippayyur Sankaran Nambudiripad (Publishers : Panchangam Press, Kunnamkulam)
English Translation: K.D. Nambudripad

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