Malayalam actor Jayaram’s Facebook post on ‘Karkidaka Vavu Bali’ went viral, so did his picture which he had shared while making the offering. He got trolled for sharing the snapshot, with questions like ”Why did you go all the way to Fiji Islands to offer Vavu Bali to ancestors?” and ”Are there crows in Fiji Islands to accept Vavu Bali?” However, many supporters also took on the trolls, pointing out that it is a matter of the actor’s faith and that he has not done anything illegal. The actor’s Facebook post had a mix of sentiments and humor written in Malayalam. It read as follows: ”Did not break tradition. I was able to offer Karkiddaka Vavu Bali in Fiji Islands, New Zealand. Some people were wondering why I am sitting alone near the shore, in an outfit they have not seen before. I told them that I am giving rice, sesame seeds and flowers to the fishes…..The souls of my parents may have been smiling, perhaps laughing, watching this from above.”
So, what exactly is this ‘Karkidaka Vavu Bali’? ‘Karkidaka Vavu Bali’ is an annual ritual observed by many Hindu families who offer obeisance to their ancestors on the full moon day in the Malayalam month of Karkidakam. While this practice is often dismissed by skeptics, the increasing number of pilgrims who gather at river banks such as Aluva to perform these rites requires the state to take necessary steps to ensure their well being with basic arrangements such as water and food.
The belief is that those who are making offerings to ancestors on this day receive blessings, even if they do not know the exact date and star of their dear one’s death. It is also a belief that conducting the ‘Vavu Bali’ will bring good luck and prosperity. Thousands of Malayalis offered the annual ritualistic offering called ‘Bali tharpanam’ yesterday at Aluva manappuram (river bank).
Jayaram Facebook Page:
This annual ritual is usually carried out near river banks on the new moon day in the Malayalam month of Karkidakam. Men usually wear the traditional ‘mundu’ while taking part in the ceremony. Before and after the ceremony, a quick dip in the river bank is a must. Tiny rice balls with sesame seeds are arranged on a plantain leaf and offered to the departed souls. A priest usually calls out the steps that need to be followed and thousands of pilgrims follow the instructions as they are being instructed. Those who are performing the rituals have to wear ‘pavithram’, a ring that is made from grass and they can remove it after the ritual is over. The rice balls are believed to be accepted by the departed souls when crows feed on them from the plaintain leaves on which they are served.
This year, the turnout was huge in Aluva as it was a Sunday. The Travancore Devaswom Board had provided free food and water at all the Mandapams and oversaw around 7000 bali tharpanams. This year, the turnout was huge as it was a Sunday. Men, women and children offered ”bali” to their ancestors. The Travancore Devaswom Board had provided free food and water at all the Mandapams and oversaw around 7000 bali tharpanams.