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Auspicious Pumpkin Flowers Adorn Tamil Houses in December- January

December 20, 2012  by: Paulose  Points: 15   Category: Inspirational Stories    Views: 498

Pumpkin is hailed as the Halloween fruit of the west, especially in the US and Canada. But you may be surprised to find that In South India, the yellow flower of pumpkin is ritually placed in front of the houses to avoid ill omens of the winter season(Margazhi Pooja).

         

Pumpkin is used all over the world for culinary and ornamental purposes. It is commercially important for its medicinal and ritual uses. The fruit as well as the yellow flowers of pumpkin have great medicinal values.

Pumpkin rituals in the East and West

The pumpkin fruit is used in front of the western houses as a Halloween decoration in the month of October, days preceding Halloween. The yellow pumpkin flower is used in front of houses as a ritual decoration in South India in the Tamil month called Margazhi (December 16-January 14). In both places they have a ritual meaning of casting away ill omens or keep a kind of scare crows in front of the houses. In the west, it ends with the festival of Halloween. In the east (South India), it ends with the festival of Pongal(harvest festival).

Why do the Tamils keep pumpkin flowers in front of their houses?

December and January months are known as winter months in the tropical countries. They are the months when germs spread easily and cause diseases. These months may prompt people to sleep more because of the late sunrise and the morning chill. Margazhi ritual makes women folk of the house get up early, sprinkle the frontage of the house with water mixed with cow dung, and decorate the space in front of the main gate with a colorful design called “kolam”. These kolam designs are line arts drawn on the ground with white powder or rice powder. There are thousands of kolam line arts which every female of South India is proud to learn. In the center of this kolam art, they place a wet piece of cow dung on which the yellow pumpkin flower is placed as a ritual.

Health reasons for this Margazhi ritual.

1) Fresh cow dung is very effective in killing germs and bacteria and also in purifying air. Ayurveda hails it for its many health benefits. It protects houses from pollutions that lead to allergies.

2) The ancient Ayurvedic text Ashtanga Sangraha enlists many benefits of pumpkin, including its flowers. It is good for reducing vata and pitta doshas.

3) The extract from the pumpkin flowers is used to apply them on the eyelids for ophthalmic health. It is a good remedy for cataracts.

4) The yellow flower of pumpkin adds good luck to the house with its golden color and it is believed that it is auspicious for the virgins in the house to get married soon.




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