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Karkidaka Vavu Bali

Karkidaka Vavu or ‘Karkidaka Vavu Bali’ is the name for the rituals performed by the Hindus in the state of Kerala for their dead ancestors. This day is also known as ‘Vavu Bali’ and is held in the month of ‘Karkidakam’ in the Malayalam calendar. If one follows the Gregorian calendar, the date falls in the month of July to August. The ceremonies for dead grandparents, parents, siblings, children and relatives are performed on ‘Karutavavu’ (no moon day) in the Karkidaka Masam. The ‘Shraddham’ rituals must be done on the river banks or seashore. In the Indian state of Kerala, the ‘Shraddh’ rituals done for the soul of the dead is known as ‘Bali’ and the no moon day or ‘Amavasi’ is referred as ‘Vavu’, hence the name ‘Vavu Bali’. The ‘Bali’ rite for the dead ancestors is also observed on the ‘Nakshatra’ or star the person died. But it is believed that ‘Bali’ held on ‘Karutavavu’ (no moon day) in the month of ‘Karkidakam’ is more auspicious and souls of the dead are easily pacified on this day. Karkidaka Vavu Bali is analogous to performing ‘Mahalaya Shraddh Paksha’ or ‘Pitru Paksha Shraddh’ in other states of India.

Rituals during Karkidaka Vavu:

On the auspicious day of Karkidaka Vavu, devotees in large numbers perform the ‘Bali Tharpanam’ ritual in order to pay homage to their dead ancestors. The rituals are held in several Holy rivers, temples and seashores across Kerala. The devotees get up early on this day and finish their morning routine to reach the ‘Bali Tharpanam’ centres. All the major temples like ‘Shangumugham Temple’, ‘Thiruvaloom Sree Parausurama Temple’ and ‘Varkala Papanasam Beach’ to name a few, remain crowded on this day and special arrangements are made by State authorities to ensure that the rituals are held peacefully. The person performing the ‘Bali’ ritual also observes a fast on this day and is allowed to eat only one meal comprising of rice. The other members in the family can eat rice preparations thrice and eating non-vegetarian food is strictly prohibited on Karkidaka Vavu. In most of the households in Kerala, a special preparation of steamed rice known as ‘Vavu ada’ is prepared. Karkidaka Vavu is performed under the supervision of known priest or elderly person. Some of the important accompaniments needed to perform the ‘Bali’ ritual includes Darbha (grass), ellu (sesame seeds), pavithram (ring formed from grass), cooked rice, banana leaves and water.

Important Timings On Karkidaka Vavu
Sunrise                                          11-Aug-2018           06:05 AM
Sunset                                           11-Aug-2018             18:58 PM
Amavasya Tithi Begins                10-Aug-2018            19:07 PM
Amavasya Tithi Ends                   11-Aug-2018            15:27 PM

Significance of Karkidaka Vavu:

The day of Karkidaka Vavu is very sacred for Hindus residing in Kerala. The ‘Bali’ ritual is held in the ‘Karkidakam’ month as the ‘Dakshinayana’ period starts from this month of the Malayalam calendar. It is believed to be the night of the Gods or ‘Devas’. By observing the Karkidaka Vavu rituals Hindu devotees offer ‘moksha’ or salvation to their dead ancestors and they in turn shower blessings on their family members on the Earth. On the day of Karkidaka Vavu, in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, Hindus observe the ‘Aadi Amavasi’ rites for their dead ancestors. Thousands of Hindu devotees take a holy dip in the sacred rivers or main ‘Teerthams’ on the day of Karkidaka Vavu. Among the Malayalam people it is believed that by sincerely observing the ‘Bali Tharpanam’ will give them prosperity and good fortune.

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