The 15th day witnesses the final act of the cremation process. That day is generally termed as the ‘Pathinaradiyanthram’, which can be translated as the ’16th day feast’. For this feast all the near and dear ones of the deceased would assemble in his house premises and a good feast is provided to them all. Apart from the family members the local people are also invited for this. This can be a small one or a very big one; that all depends upon the economic capacity of the deceased family members.
With this pomp and show, the cremation ceremony of a member of the ‘Valluvanad Nair family’ ends. Now just after one year, which is calculated on the ‘star’ (‘Nakshathram’ in the vernacular) of the death day and not according to the modern calendar calculation, the annual day is observed and that is called ‘Srardham’. But for that only the available near and dear assemble and do the ‘Kriyas’. During the ‘Srardham’ day, special ‘Kriyas’ are conducted either at the house premises or at the above mentioned river beds. If the family members wish, they can make some ‘Payasam’ (pudding) and dedicate to ‘God Almighty’.
‘Srardhams’ also are indirectly connected with the cremation process and these days the 1st Srardham is conducted in the river beds of locally famous temples like the ‘Thirunelli Temple’ near ‘Waynad’, ‘Thirunnawaya Temple’ near ‘Ponnani’ or ‘Perur Temple’ near ‘Coimbatore’. All these temples are locally famous for conducting the ‘Kriyas’, in connection with the cremation. The general belief is that once this kind of a 1st Srardham is celebrated, there is no further need for repeated observance of ‘Srardhams’ every year!
I really don’t know whether I have succeeded in narrating to you the general proceedings regarding the cremation within the ‘Valluvanad Nair Community’. If you get at least some basic ideas about the matter while going through these articles, I am really satisfied. Like this, there will be innumerable customs, manners and way of behaving among the various sections of the people within the whole mankind. It will be really interesting, if somebody brings out these kinds of different ways customs and manners, for example the different ways of ‘cremation processes’ of all these sections together, in a book format. Let us hope that some day, somebody is going to do it!
I sincerely wish that somebody within this community may happen to read this, so that if there are any corrections or additions, they can add them!
I also sincerely hope that such descriptions from the various communities and groups of this ‘wide world’ are brought to letters and if we have a book of such a kind, it will be really useful to the whole generations of today and tomorrow! Let us hope that some day, somebody is going to do it!
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Kaliyath Achutha Kumar