The function organized by the elders of the home for the welfare of an expectant is during her pregnancy period is called as Valaikappu or Seemaandham. Non-Brahmins perform this by the name of Valaikaappu, and Brahmins do it by the name of Seemandham. But they will follow different procedures to perform this. I will give you the method for those two functions here…
This is performed during the period between the fifth and the eighth months of pregnancy. The woman is dressed in new clothes and jewelry used on such occasions.
- In the Garbha Prashnam, an astrologer prescribes ritualistic remedies for the protection of the mother and child as well as for smooth child birth in the event of any astrological obstacles.
This ceremony is performed during the odd months of pregnancy mostly during the seventh month for the expectant mother in her mother’s house. Prayers are invoked for the well-being of the mother-to -be and the fetus. Mostly women are invited for this function.
- Light a lamp next to a wooden plank on which kolam is drawn and then, keep a tray ready with betel leaves, betel nuts, turmeric, fruits, sugar and sugar candy ( kalkandu ).
- Seat the expectant facing east on the wooden plank.
- If the sister-in-law (the girl’s husband’s sister) is available, make her garland the girl.
- Keep aside 5 green bangles and 5 red bangles in front of the God for the Kula Deivam( family deity ).
- The expectant mother is made to wear a lot of bangles, i.e., arranging odd number of bangles in the left hand and even number of bangles in the right hand, mostly glass ones of red and green colors. It is believed that the sound of these bangles will suppose to reach the baby in the womb.
- Fill a large measuring tumbler (padi) with paddy (nellu) and top it with a small lamp which is lit.Place a silver coin each on the girl’s head, 2 shoulders, 2 palms, 2 feets, stomach and hip. And then 5 sumangali’s one after the other should give the keep sandalwood and kumkumam in the forehead, nalangu in the leg, flower in the hair and then with the measuring tumbler from head to toe perform the ethi irakkudhal. Then perform arathi.
- It is customary to give bangles to all women attending the ceremony.
- The mother of the girl presents her silk saris and gold and silver bangles. The invitees give gifts for the mother-to -be and they are given a feast.
- The bangles are removed only during delivery and given to the midwife at the birth of a child. Arti is performed.