Wednesday, August 01, 2012



Is there a scientific reason behind our Tamil/Indian Tradition & Custom?

Most of the practices, customs and traditions or rituals have some basis, some of which are truly scientific. The tradition might also be right under the conditions prevailing at the time it was made part of the social conduct. Later on, they get incorporated more as practices as over the years, the actual reasons are forgotten.


Most of the Tamil Hindu customs and traditions had some scientific reason behind them. Most of the Tamil customs and traditions are derived from our ancestors. Tamil has a very long history dating back to thousands of years. Traditions and customs were taught at a very young age and followed as part of life. 

You may be thrilled and happy to know the real intention of the customs we follow in our day to day lives.



For instance, when disinfectants were not known much, the people have been using cow's urine. Cow dung has been used to plaster mud houses and mud floors.

Why Ancient people provide drinks in Silver Tumblers?


People have been giving water, hot drinks etc to guests in silver tumblers. The guests felt honored as they were offered drinks in cups made of a precious metal.
Scientifically, the silver Metal served a specific purpose for the host. The metal was germicidal and so it helped prevent any infection that the guests might carry inside. 
WHY DURING MENSTRUATION WOMEN WERE NOT ALLOWED TO DO ANY WORK OR COOK ANY FOOD ITEMS?


The women in the families were required to be kept in quarantine for three days in order to prevent infection (as menstrualtual discharge had some toxic substances) and also to give the women the much needed rest during the period.

This seems like a regressive thought that our ancestors suffered from, but our ancestors kept in mind the discomfort and trouble that a woman goes through while menstruating, suffering from cramps and exhaustion. 



To keep women away from all work and to give her the much-needed rest, this theory of banning a menstruating woman in those days and not allowing her to cook (because cooking was a major activity and the woman had to cook for many members) came into being. Though over the ages, it did become a notoriously backward practice.

Why should not use left hand to receive/handover anything?




In Tamil culture, the left hand is primarily used for personal hygiene purposes and hence using left hand to receive or hand over anything from anyone is considered as an insult.
But now, since people are more healthy conscious, they were keeping both their hands hygienically clean and so no probs !!
After attending a funeral, why to take bath and why cooking is not done in those houses?

After attending a funeral both men and women stay outside the house. Then they go to the well and have a bath, wash all their clothes and then only enter the house. This is preventing any infection from the funeral house. This is more prevalent in the villages. I.e. Every person visiting the house of the dead person during the mourning period is believed to suffer from pollution. The first thing; he is expected to do on leaving the house of the dead person is to have purificatory bath. Only after this bath, they have to drink off even a glass of water or to eat and enter the main parts of his own house. The house where death was occurred is considered polluted and cooking is not done for few days. The neighbors supply them food.

Why a bundle of Neem leaves were hung on chicken pox affected houses?




If anyone in the house suffers from an infectious disease like chicken pox, a bundle of Neem or margosa leaves are hung at the gates of the house indicating there is an infection a brilliant method of isolation.


Also Neem act as anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, anti-protozoa and anti-viral, thus helps in protection from all the micro-organisms, which are always ready to invade in our body causing serious ailments. Neem tree is commonly known as margosa tree in English.
Why our Tamil/Indian ladies wearing pottu/Bhindi in their fore-head?




On the forehead between the two eyebrows a spot considered a major nerve point in human body since ancient times. The Pottu is believed to prevent the loss of "energy", The red 'kumkum' between the eyebrows is said to retain energy in the human body and control the various levels of concentration.



While applying kumkum the points on the mid-brow region and Adnya-chakra are automatically pressed. This facilitates the blood supply to the face muscles. The entire body emanates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves - the forehead and the subtle spot between the eyebrows especially so. That is why worry generates heat and causes a headache.

Using plastic reusable "sticker Pottu/bindis" is not very beneficial, even though it serves the purpose of decoration.
The tilak and pottu cools the forehead, protects us and prevents energy loss. Sometimes the entire forehead is covered with Santhanam/Sandalwood. 


That's why, in Tamil Functions like Marriage, Traditionally dressed Tamil girls stay at the main entrance to welcome the guest with Panner (Rose water), Santhanam (Sandalwood), and Kunkumam (Vermilion).

APPLYING HENNA BEFORE AUSPICIOUS OCCASIONS:
Henna is typically applied during special occasions like weddings and during festivals. Henna is applied to hair, hands, and feet and believed to bring good luck.


Our ancestors have advised applying heena to hands, to the bottom of the feet, and hair, etc, especially at the onset of rainy season.
This was because during rainy season, the susceptibility to get infected by germs was manifold and henna’s anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties were believed to fight those germs. Though henna is seen as an adornment, scientifically, henna extracts show antibacterial, antifungal, and ultraviolet light screening activity.

Henna is anti-fungal and can be effective against psoriasis [A noncontagious inflammatory skin disease]. Henna is most commonly used as a natural hair and skin dye, but henna also contains a compound called lawsone [hennotannic acid], which is what gives heena its antibacterial and antifungal capabilities. Henna is effective against prevention of dandruff too.

Why to take Bath daily in the morning?
We find that in olden days people took bath in rivers, mountain pools, waterfalls and the seas. This habit is in vogue even today. Pulanadal or river bath is described as a significant act in all Tamil Classics. The Tamil proverb "Even if it be the humble gruel to consume, have it after a bath." Summarize the significance Attached to the daily bathing. ie Bathing is an integral part of daily routine in every Tamil's life.


The practice of regular oil bath, men taking on Wednesdays and Saturdays and women folk on Tuesdays and Fridays has been in vogue In Tamil nadu from ancient period. Its origins are unknown. Yet its significance can be understood by the advice of AVVAIYAR'S statement that one should is regular in Saturday's oil baths. (Athi-16)


That a bath keeps us healthy through personal hygiene is a well-known fact. But there are other aspects as well that are not well known. Polygraphic studies proved that water enhances electro-magnetic activity. In the context of this finding, the practices like washing hands and feet before entering temples and taking bath every day, worshipping with wet clothes and offering prayer standing in the middle of water chest-deep in rivers and tanks etc., seem to be more scientific than a mere act of cleanliness.
Human body is Center of electric currents and impulses. A continuous process of generation and consumption of electric energy takes place in the human body. More energy is generated in our body whenever we are excited and battle various emotions as well as indulge in intense physical activity. However, at night when we retire until the next morning this generation and consumption level of power drops drastically. This is the reason why we feel so lethargic on waking up in the morning. We are neither active physically non mentally. Washing our face immediately clears the cobwebs of drowsiness. A bath certainly freshens up completely and puts us in our best shape. This happens due to the fact that water consumes the electricity in our body. This is known as Electro-magnetic activity. Therefore, taking bath has more to do with such scientific reasoning than merely cleanliness.

DO NOT TAKE BATH IMMEDIATELY AFTER EATING:

If a person is immediately taking bath after a meal, the digestion process gets slowed down by a great deal as cold water activates certain chemicals in the body that rushes the blood to the skin to keep it warm and the digestion process takes a backseat. So, it was always advised by our ancestors to take food after having a bath. ie Bath will increase blood flow to the hands, feet and body that causes the amount of blood around the stomach will continue to decrease. This will weaken the digestive system in our stomach.


START ALWAYS WITH SPICY FOOD AND END YOUR MEAL WITH SWEETS:


Our ancestors have stressed on the fact that our meals should be started off with something spicy and sweet dishes should be taken towards the end. The significance of this eating practice is that while spicy things activate the digestive juices and acids and ensure that the digestion process goes on smoothly and efficiently, sweets or carbohydrates pulls down the digestive process. Hence, sweets were always recommended to be taken as a last item.


CONSUMPTION OF JAGGERY IN DIET AND IN SWEETS:


Jaggery (Vellam- made of Sugarcane juice) is an excellent remedy for respiratory diseases. The benefit of jaggery includes its ability to cleanse the body and act as a digestive agent. Jaggery is full of minerals. Jaggery effectively cleans respiratory tracts, lungs, food pipe, stomach, and intestines. It pulls out dust and unwanted particles from the body. It also helps in giving relief from constipation.
In India, it is recommended to take a small amount of jaggery after having had a heavy meal.


           Jaggery facilitates the digestion process. Jaggery activates digestive enzymes and speeds up digestion. Unlike sugar, jaggery is very rich in minerals, especially iron with traces of other minerals. While most of the iron in it comes through processing in iron vessels, the other minerals come right from the sugar cane juice, since this juice does not undergo refining or bleaching of any kind. So, jaggery is a very good source of minerals for the body.
MEDITATION UNDER TREES:


Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment after meditating under a Peepal (Arasa Maram) tree or Bodhi Tree.  Peepal trees have many medicinal uses. Juice extracted from the leaves is used for eardrops. The bark is used to heal inflammations of the neck and glandular swellings. Chewing the roots of a Banyan tree is said to help prevent gum disease. Many rishis and sadhus wrote great epics of literature sitting under the  Peepal trees.



What is with trees and enlightenment?


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Hence, sitting under a tree meant fresh oxygen for brain cells, and fresh oxygen activated brain cells and people tended to think wisely and intelligently.

Even Sir Issac Newton thought about gravity while he was sitting under an apple tree.




The four trees “Peepal, Gooler, Banyan, and Pakad are called to be the storehouse of Sun rays. The wood of these trees is considered very auspicious for Havans in Indian scriptures.
Peepal tree has been given the prime importance among all these trees and worshipped even today. The reason is right from the root to its leaves; the tree contains the medicinal values and cures many diseases like biliousness & heart diseases, relieves constipation, Jaundice, leprosy, gum diseases etc.,. That was the reason our ancient sages recognized the importance of this tree and declared- Peepal tree is the abode of Gods and Goddesses.

The veracity of the fact has been traced during excavation of an ancient civilization by the name Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. It has been ascertained that the civilization existed around 1300- 1700 B.C. The findings establish that the inhabitants of that civilization. Almost all experts call the civilization "proto-Dravidian" and many are of the opinion that they are the ancestors of Tamils worshiped the tree known as Peepal in English or Arasa Maram in Tamil. 
They belief that Women circumambulate the peepal tree to be blessed with children or to gain a desired thing or person. Scientifically, Its juice has an enzyme that stimulates child bearing capacity. So people go around the tree for want of a child, by aspiration of the air emanated by the tree. The most important value of this wonderful tree is that, a person dying with snake bite can be cured and can get life.

Scientific research suggests that the Peepal tree is best antidote [counteracts or relieves a harmful or unwanted condition; remedy ] to all kinds of pollution, specifically, water pollution, air pollution and noise pollution. Also this is the only tree that emits oxygen even in night whereas other trees emit oxygen only at day time by photosynthesis.

Most plants largely uptake Carbon dioxide (CO2) and release oxygen during the day (photosynthesis) and uptake oxygen and release (CO2) during the night (respiration). Some plants such as Peepal tree can uptake (CO2) during the night as well because of their ability to perform a type of photosynthesis called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM). However, it is not true that they release large amounts of oxygen during the night. Trees will continue to photosynthesize as long as there is light. there is always some light at night, like moonlight etc, but its intensity is less hence provides less energy for photosynthesis.



As peepal tree is huge it gives lots of oxygen during day & lots of carbon di oxide during the night. So people feel giddiness or breathlessness at night when they stand under this tree. People think that there is a ghost or evil sprit under the vast trees like Banyan & Peepal.


WHY NOT TO EAT DURING ECLIPSE AND TO STAY INDOOR?
Solar eclipses and lunar eclipses have been dreaded natural phenomenons and continue to scare people even now.


our ancestors gave a religious touch to eclipses and prohibited people from venturing out during eclipses and eating anything during the phenomenon knowing the harmful effects the radiations could cause.




Long before the scientific revelations threw light about the harmful radiations coming out of the solar eclipse and the negative effect it could have on eyes and health.
Also due to radiation and difference in frequence,  eating at that time may cause digestion problem as well.

Why to wake-up early in the morning?
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.*
                                                                                                       -Benjamin Franklin




Early rising means waking up before sunrise. Waking up at this time means that the blood circulation in our body and mind is positive. Waking up after sunrise causes negative blood circulation and blood flow becomes sluggish. Late rising also induces baseless and negative dreaming and weakens the immune system.

Benefits of rising early:
The body and mind will stay fresh if you get up before sunrise
Constipation and indigestion will remain under control
The mind and mood will remain cheerful throughout the day
You will have sufficient time to think, plan and organise the day lying ahead of you
The power and capacity of the mind will increase
The memory will sharpen
The eyesight will not get weakened



Getting up early before the Sunrise is a must for the Tamils. (Silappathikaram: 14-5 to 13.) This is followed still in all rural parts and by a majority in the urban areas. Avvaiyar in her didactic poem the AATHICHUDI, (Ref. 106) advised the children and youth to get up "BEFORE THE DAY BREAK".


Which direction should a bed face for peaceful sleeping?
1. A Tamil treatise on almanac [The Varshaadi Nool ] says: 

Sleeping Eastward is good;
sleeping Southward prolongs life; 
sleeping Westward and Northward brings ruin.
Even the Ayurvedic physician seats his patients facing eastward before diagnosing the disease or administering his medicine.


2. Vastu sleeping direction:



[Aintiram Ainthi'ram) is a Tamil text on Vastu Shastra attributed to Mamuni Mayan
The Science related to numerical order enables one to know the principles of role of number, space order nature of inner space and significantly know the potency of micro-structure. (atoms)"
Mayan's Aintiram ...page 347]

East:
Sleeping with head resting in the East enhances memory, health and spiritual inclination. It is usually advised by Vastu Shastra Consultants to plan the children's room in such a way that their Vastu sleeping direction comes out to be east. This leads to higher concentration and retention power.
South:
Vastu Shastra highly recommends this direction as your usual sleeping position with head towards the South. This is believed to provide sound sleep and increase the wealth and prosperity in the household.
West:
This is not a very advisable sleeping position. Vastu Shastra says sleeping with head resting in West might cause disturbed sleep due to nightmares, some major illness and tendency towards violence.
North:
The Vastu sleeping position with head in the North direction is strongly opposed. It might cause major illnesses and sleepless nights for the person sleeping in such a position.
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We all know that our planet has a magnetic pole stretched from north to south with the positive pole at the north and the negative pole at the south. Now, health scientists tell us that we too have a similar magnetic stretch with the positive pole at the head and the negative one at the feet.
It is common knowledge that like poles repel and unlike poles attract not only scientific but also in social spheres. When we lay our heads on the north side, the two positive sides repel each other and there is a struggle between the two. Since the earth has a greater magnetic force, we are always the losers, and rise in the morning with headache or heaviness.

But when we lay our heads in the southern direction, there is mutual attraction and we wake up fit, fresh and free, unless afflicted by some illness. We also know that our planet revolves itself from west to east, and sun's magnetic field enters earth from east side. This magnetic force enters our head if we lie with head on the east and exits through feet, promoting cool heads and warm feet as per the laws of magnetism and electricity. When the head is laid towards the west, cool feet and hot head – result - an unpleasant start for morning.
Now we may realize why the ancient people said, that our intellect improves by east facing head or house, and life lengthens with the head facing south.


Throwing Currency Coins into a River:


Many of us would have noticed our co-passengers throwing coins into rivers especially when traveling over river bridges.
The general reasoning given for this act is that, it brings Good Luck back to us. It is also believed that it will bring back Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi to our households.
In the ancient times, most of the currency used was made of copper unlike the stainless steel coins of today. Copper is a vital metal very useful to the human body. The intake of copper with water is very good for health. Throwing coins in the river was one way our fore-fathers ensured we intake sufficient copper as part of the water. Rivers were the only source of drinking water. Making it a custom by saying it will bring good fortune to us has ensured that all of us follow the good practice.

Joining both palms together to greet others:
In Tamil culture, I have seen people greeting others by joining their palms together. This is termed as “VANAKKAM" as per Tamil traditions. This is the most common way of greeting others.
Vanakkam: The Tamil way of greeting


While greeting others, we join both the hands together. Joining both hands ensures joining the tips of all the fingers together; which are denoted to the pressure points of eyes, ears, and mind. Pressing them together is said to activate the pressure points. This helps us to remember the person for a long time.

The joining of hands at the level of the heart symbolically signifies the greeting from the heart/soul. Both hands join together at the palms straight across the chest signifies a salute from the soul, or a welcome from the heart. Some others say that it signifies, bow to the God in you or bow to you or my soul bows to your soul.
But what is little known is that the five fingers represent the five elements“ this is best expressed in Mudras. Mudras are very common in various dance systems like Bharatha Natiyam, Kathakali and Kuchipudi.

The significance of the five fingers is that :
Thumb stands for fire energy (thumbs up sign for success or victory?)
Index finger stands for Air/Wind energy,
Middle finger stands for space/Akash/Shunya“
Ring finger stands for Earth energy (another reason for putting the ring on this finger) and
Little finger stands for water energy.

The true meaning of VANAKKAM is the neutralization of all the energies by bringing both the hands together so that each finger of one hand touches the corresponding finger of the other hand, to denote that the person does not have any powerful positive/negative energies to affect the other person. Thus, it is a true gesture of friendship and welcome.







Shaking hands often involve touching another person. Even though it is a very friendly gesture, it can often transmit unfriendly germs. Sometimes, we might be uncomfortable shaking hands with a person who has a sweaty palm, or whose cleanliness we may not trust. But shaking hands in the corporate world is an accepted norm everywhere. Shaking hands is the most trusting gesture that we can see in day to day life, and is part and parcel of our everyday life.

But is shaking hands the only way to greet?
No. Just the other day, I was visiting a patient in the hospital, and the attendant was telling everyone NOT to shake hands, as it might transmit germs. This is especially true since we travel in buses, touch the doors, knobs, handles, purse, etc, and we do not know how much of germs we may carry. Whereas the Tamil way of greeting by doing VANAKKAM is so clean, and..cool!

Tying Mango and Neem Leaves to the doors on auspicious days:
The general reason given for this act is that tying mango and neem leaves would not allow the evil powers to enter the house.





On auspicious days and on special occasions, all of us gather at one place along with our relatives and friends. Photosynthesis is a process where in plants take in carbon-di-oxide and gives out oxygen. This process helps in circulation of oxygen and in turn keeps the room temperature at an optimum level. Mango leaves and neem leaves are very effective in the photosynthesis process comparative to other plants. Neem leaves purify the bacteria too. In order to keep the temperature cool and to circulate air, we tie mango leaves and neem leaves to all the doors.


Why do elders rotate crystal salt, lemon around head?
Dristhi is stated as an evil eye [a look that is believed by many cultures to be able to cause injury or bad luck for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike/' (Kan padudhal) literally means 'casting an eye'(with an intention to cause harm)/ on the person who feels jealous about others. It is believed that if a person gets Dristi, he would be ruined or would fell sick due to the evil eye. As a cure and remedy to this evil eye, elders take dristhi by revolving salt or lemon around the person.



Salt can be considered as the first antibiotic. Not only that, the salty and acidic substances would less affect the magnetic field. Keeping these properties if lemon and salt in mind, we revolve salt and lemon around the person.
The salt and lemon when revolved around, it would kill all the bacteria around the person. It forms an aura layer of antibiotics around the person. Not only has this, revolving around the person balance the magnetic field too. This would make the person affected with dristi feel better.

Why Fasting?
A lot of our time and energy is spent in procuring food items, preparing, cooking, eating and digesting food. Certain food types make our minds dull and agitated. Hence on certain days man decides to save time and conserve his energy by eating either simple, light food or totally abstaining from eating so that his mind becomes alert and pure. Since it is a self-imposed form of discipline it is usually adhered to with joy.



Also every system needs a break and an overhaul to work at its best. Rest and a change of diet during fasting is very good for the digestive system and the entire body. The more you indulge the senses, the more they make their demands. Fasting helps us to cultivate control over our senses, sublimate our desires and guide our minds to be poised and at peace.


The act of putting water around the plate :
The act of putting water around the plate in which we have food and to keep some part of what is served in the plate outside the plate on the ground while you sit on the floor to have dinner/lunch. 

As we know water acts as a repellent to many tiny creatures that roam on the floor seen and unseen, hence the circle of water stops them to approach the plate when kept on the floor also they are attracted towards the part of food kept outside the plate making it safe to consume the food. This practice is redundant while eating on dining table which is presumable cleaner than the floor. Those who still practice it on table are just following tradition without knowing the meaning behind it.

What is the scientific reason behind the Ear-piercing?


We have nerve branches from all the body at the tip of the ears. and earrings are worn to keep these nerves activated. They say that to check if all organs work fine for a new born baby, they generally pull its ear and if the baby cries out loud, it really is healthy.Earrings are worn by getting the ears pierced in the ear lobe area where the important pressure point exists.

Scientific reason behind wearing bangles in hands?
The bangles or kaappu or vaalayal are worn in hands and it continuously applies pressure on the point as depicted in the figure :

Scientific reason behind wearing Kolusu in legs?

The anklets are worn in legs and it continuously applies pressure on the points as shown in the figure.

Scientific reason behind wearing Thali or mangalsootra in Neck?
The ˜Thaali Kodiâ [mangalsootras] are worn in neck and it continuously applies pressure on the points as shown in the figure below:



Scientific reason behind wearing pottu or Bhindi in fore-head?

Similarly the ˜Pottu apply pressure on the third eye area 




Now all these pressure points are the points which when pressed increases fertility both in men and women. These pressure points are used in Acupressure therapy these days to treat fertility related problems in the entire world. Most of these ornaments are used by Indian women after marriage and the sole purpose of the establishment of marriage institution was child birth and survival of the human race. 

Probably this was the reason our ancestors and thinkers again associated these ornaments with high dignity and made people feel it to be auspicious, pious and Godly. This tradition of ours is only symbolic mark of a rich tradition now and has lost its significance in today’s world of fashion and the mad  race of looking beautiful by compromising on its health benefits.

Why did we get this punishment? or Scientific reason behind Thoppukaranam?

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Remember the good old school punishments? Holding the earlobes with arms crossed over your chests, bending the knees and then sit and then stand and so on. If you still cannot figure out the punishment just see this picture. I hope now you remember. Even we do this steps in temple when we pray to Lord Vinayaka/Ganesha.

Talking about the logic behind this Punishment/Prayer (தோப்புக்கரணம் in Tamil), it is very interesting to know that this particular posture increases the blood flow in the memory cells in brain and synchronizes the right and left side of the brain to improve function and promote calmness, stimulates neural pathways via acupressure points in the earlobe, sharpens intelligence and also helps those with autism, asperger syndrome, learning difficulties and behavioral problems.
Now US Scientist claimbing this as a Super Brain Yoga.

Why does "wedding" Prohibit during July-August or in the Tamil month of Aadi?




The monsoon months are the weakest months of the year, easily causing diseases due to change in the climate because of the pouring rains. Monsoon is strong during these days spreading diseases through water and air. That is why marriages, family celebrations and other communal activities are not held during this month.
These practices link the people to the age old sentiments and customs that have passed on to our modern generations traditionally. According to traditions this month is inauspicious.


Why newly married bride were sent to their parents house in Tamil month of Aadi?
The real meaning behind this has many scientific implications. If the bride conceives in this month, she will deliver the child in the second half of May (Chithirai), the hottest period of the year, which may harm both the child and the mother. Moreover, contagious diseases like small pox, measles, etc. are more prevalent during this time.
Another practical reason is that this season is the time for busy agricultural tasks of cultivation. All people have to focus their whole attention to agriculture, Rivers and streams are filled with water due to monsoon rains and men cannot waste their time in other engagements. They have to get up very early in the morning and involve themselves in their duties.

Putting small pieces of Dharbai during an eclipse:

The practice of putting small pieces of Halfa grass (Dharbai in Tamil) during an eclipse may seem odd. Normally, the grass is made to float on any water body, including milk, during the eclipse. And after the eclipse, the grass is taken out and thrown and the water/milk used. To the casual observer it may seem a simple ritual.



But in essence, Scientifically the small pieces of grass floating on the surface of the water in the vessels actually disturbs the surface tension, due to which invisible infrared/ultraviolet rays which abound during an eclipse, does not affect the water body since the disturbed surface tension deflects the rays through refraction. Sounds incredible?
Also, there is the added feature of Halfa grass that is believed to absorb negative rays. Hence, the practice of putting grass on water during an eclipse seems very much scientific indeed!



What is the significance of the Thoranams?
Tamil Hindus festoon the upper frame of their main door with mango leaves and marigold flowers on festivals and auspicious occasions.
The twigs of the green mango leaves and the orange flowers serves as a decorative and also has a lot of medicinal value.



The threshold [An entrance or a doorway or A piece of wood or stone placed beneath a door; a doorsill] below is smeared with a lot of turmeric paste and dots of vermilion (kumkum) on it makes it a very pretty site. During functions the main door is flanked by banana saplings or trees. This completes the picture of a ceremony.

The significance of the thoranams being:
The saplings and the green mango leaves give a lot of oxygen which is needed in the surrounding area .
The leaves and turmeric have germicidal (anti-germ) properties.
The mango leaves and the marigold flowers also give a lot of positive vibrations which helps the people who gather in that place.
A marigold flower repels mosquitoes and some insects.
Why Rangoli in the entrance of House?



Rangoli will be traditionally made at the doorstep with rice flour everyday afresh.
This practice serves a very simple purpose that of feeding the lower organisms as ants and insects thereby keeping them at bay from entering the household. Birds will also intake these rice flour made rangoli or "Kolam" in Tamil.


Traditional dress: Saree & Vaetti

The ancient Tamil people mainly wore garments that were wrapped and draped, rather than sewn [untailored]. This was not because they did not know the art of sewing. Early Tamil people were experts in fine weaving but because they preferred the flexibility and creativity that draped clothing allowed.
Light Loose, flowing garments were practical in the hot climate of southern Asia, and the Sari & Vaetti/ Dhoti woven of cotton or silk, was both cool and graceful.
ie Generally the climate of Indian subcontinent is warm and humid. Saree and its male counterpart vaetti [dhoti] was most suited for this land.


The Ancient Tamil concept of beauty was that of small waist and large bust and hips, and the sari seemed to be the perfect dress as it exposes the waist of a woman and emphasizes the waist and bust with the pleated fabric.


The sari, being an unstitched drape, enhances the shape of the wearer while only partially covering the midriff. In Indian philosophy [example, In ancient Indian tradition and the Natya shastra (an ancient Indian treatise describing ancient dance and costumes)], the naval of the Supreme Being is considered to be the source of life and creativity, hence the midriff is to be left bare by the sari. Hence by tradition, the stomach and the navel is to be left unconcealed.
Along with dhoti [vaetti], the angavastram [shawl] or thundu (an extra piece of cloth) will be draped depending on its use. Farmers carry it on one shoulder and treat it as sweat towel. Also woman used a breast band and a veil or wrap that could be used to cover the upper body or head.

Both could be easily turned into working dress or party-wear. Also both are a versatile piece of clothing, suitable even in our modern societies. The one dress that is universal is the sari & dhoti. It fit every one every body shape. 
They really applicable for one size fits all ie. saris & vaetti [sarongs] are more or less one size fits all,since these garments are wrapped or tied. If chosen and worn carefully along with the right accessories, saree & dhoti can look good on all women & men.


Also sari is comfortable to manage household chores. Working class tucks the same length above the ankles and if they have to work in water or fields, they would tuck the front pleats between the legs to the back, and tie the upper portion round the waist. This left them free movement of hands and legs.


Rani [queen] Velu Nachiyar, Belawadi Mallamma and Kittur chennamma fought enemy troops on horse back, wearing saree this way.

Now a days, the sari is usually worn over a petticoat [pavada/pavadai in the Tamil], with a Blouse forming the upper garment.


Why do we light a lamp?

Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance. Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth.


Take off his/her shoes/sandals before entering:

In the great Biblical story of Moses, when Moses, the hero of Exodus, approaches the burning bush he is asked to take off his sandals. The reason he is told by the voice of God from the burning bush is that it was holy ground that he was standing upon.
In most of the religions, one is required to take off his/her shoes/sandals before entering the holy place, be it a temple, sanctum sanctorum or the altar.


One can safely assume that it is because of general cleanliness.

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