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Madhuram kodukkuka (Giving sweets)

The practice of giving milk and fruit to the bride and bridegroom immediately after marriage in front of a lit nilavilakku (holy lamp) is known as Madhuram kodukkuka


Mamangam was a celebration conducted once in twelve years to decide the King of Kerala.  It was Maha Makha Angam, which later came to be known Mamangam.  History says that Mamangam was celebrated on the sandy banks of Nila. The Thaliyadiris, the early rulers of Kerala and the Perumakkars had conducted this celebration.  It is also believed that Mamangam was the positioning of Perumakkars who were brought from foreign countries for a period of twelve years.  All these were as commanded by Lord Parasurama.  The famous among the Mamangam is the one that was celebrated at Thirunavaya (in Malappuram District) in the banks of banks of Bharathapuzha.  Among this, the Mamangam conducted by Valluvakkonathiri from 825 AD onwards and the one celebrated by Kozhikode Zamorin from the end of 13th century assumed great importance.  Valluvakkonathiri got this right from Bhaskara Ravi Varma, the last among the Perumakkal. Zamorin of Kozhikode killed Valluvakkonathiri by the end of 13th century and usurped the right of conducting Mamangam.  The last Mamangam was celebrated in 1743.  Some are of the opinion that it was in 1753 and other say that it was in 1755. However, it is quite clear that the Mamangam came to an end with the conquest of Kozhikode by Hyder Ali in 1776.

Mamangam celebrations start from Pooyam asterism day of the month of Makaram and last for 30 days. The celebrations of the first 12 dayswere most significant.

Scholars differ on the origin of Mamangam celebration.  They are summarised below
Mahamela was conducted once in 12 years on the banks where the rivers meet. One of them was celebrated at Thirunavaya based on its turn.  It was on the Mahamakath day of the month of
It is believed that once in 12 years when Karkkidaka Vyazham comes in the month of Kumbha, the river Ganges flow down through Thirunavaya.  Then using the holy water of Ganges, ‘Abhishekam’ was done to Keraladesham.  This function was known as Mamangam.

According to Moses, the Jew historian, it is the foundation festival of the Ashoka Pillar installed in BC 360 at Kodungallur.

According to Barbosa, a foreign traveler, the reign of Keralaraja (Kerala Emperor) was for 12 years.  After the tenure, they would call the public meeting and commit suicide in front of them and this function is called Mamangam.

The birthday festival of Sree Budha was later converted as Mamangam.

One is at a loss to decide which is the correct version on Mamangam.  Whatever be the opinions, it is sure and certain that this was a festival conducted to decide and preserve the supremacy of Kerala Emperor.  It was a political festival of ancient Kerala celebrated with all it goodness and fame.

Marumakkathayam (Matrililineal System)

The Marumakkathaayam is the matrilineal system of inheritance The social set up of Nairs is matrilineal or ‘marumakkathayam’ system that is different from the rest of Kerala. It is exceptional in the sense that it was one of the few traditional systems that gave women liberty, and right to property. Under this system, women enjoyed respect, prestige and power. Though the inheritance and descent through female line was in force in some parts of India, it was the Nairs of Kerala who maintained the system in its letter and spirit.In the Marumakkathyam system, the family lived together in a tharavadu, which comprised of a mother, her brothers and younger sisters, and her children. The oldest brother was known as the Karanavar and was the head of the household and he managed the family estate. Lineage was traced through the mother, and the children "belonged" to the mother's family. All family property was jointly owned. In the event of a partition, the shares of the children were clubbed with that of the mother.

Some historians believe that the Marumakkathaayam system started after the Chera-Chola wars during the second Chera Empire, as Nairs lost most of their men during the war. The popularity of ‘Sambandha’ marriage paved the way for matrilineal inheritance system.  This system became popular among the Nairs and Kshathriyas first.  In the Sambandha marriage, the sons of a family used to reside in the mothers family.  At the same time the husband’s sister and her sons used to reside within the family.  The sons could not reach in time to perform funeral rites of the father as they are living far away.  Then the nephew performs the funeral rites.  It was an old custom that the right of property shall go to those who perform the funeral rites.  When nephew performs the funeral rites, he became the owner of the land held by his uncle.  Slowly the sons were expelled from the funeral rites as well as from the right over the property.

The excessive influence of Karanavan’s wife in family affairs very often resulted in family feuds.  The youngsters of the family disliked the dominance of the Karanavans.  This has resulted in the disruption of family relations.  Progressive minded among them criticized this dominance.  The Travancore Nair Act of 1912 came into existence as a result of this feud.  The joint family system was reshaped and the right of ownership on family property was restored to all through the law.  Half of the property of father will go to his children and half to his nephews, according to this law. By the Second Nair Act of 1925 the right of the latter on his uncles property was completely withdrawn.  The Kochi Nair Regulation of 1921 laid down conditions for sharing of properties and exercised control over the powers of the Karanavar.  The duty of protecting wife and children in the nair family became the responsibility of the male member.  Though the Kochi Nair Act of 1938 the matrilineal system of inheritance was withdrawn completely.  The Malabar Marriage Act of 189 and the Madras Marumakkathaya Act of 1933 brought changes in the joint family system of Malabar also.  By 1967 the joint family system began to disappear from Kerala.  The Kerala Joint Family System (Prohibition Act) of 1975 was passed by the Kerala Legislature Assembly, which ultimately put an end to the system.

In Marumakkathayam system the females and children were safe and secure.  The protection and independence enjoyed by the nair women in the matrilineal joint family system was lacking in other systems.  She was able to live a happy and settled life after marriage without changing her residence to husband’s home and facing difficulties there.  The future of her children was safe in the hands of the Karanavar.  Divorce or widowhood was not a burden to her.  She had the full right to abandon a husband whom she disliked.

Sri. Krishna Chaithanya observes, “Anthropologists, especially foreigners, still keep a lost memory of the matrilineal inheritance system of Kerala.  Though it was a basic economic system of the past, the Nair community still believe that they have some responsibility and should do justice to the children of their sisters as like their own children.”


The Vasanthotsava (festival of flowers) of the ladies of North Kerala is known as Meenapooram.  It has a resemblance with the Thiruvathira of South Kerala.  Both are ladies’ festivals.  It is related to the story of Kamadeva and performed for the prosperity and progress of husbands.  Pooram was celebrated for nine days from Karthika to Pooram asterismday in the month of Meenom (March-April)


Moodappaseva is an offering in Madhur Siddhi Vinayaka Temple of Kasargode.  The chief deity of the temple is Lord Siva. Lord Ganapathy is positioned outside the shrine in the northeast direction.  The offering is made to Lord Ganapathy.  The idol of Ganapathy will be covered with sugarcanes.  After that Appams (sweet rice cakes) will be placed inside the circle up to the neck of idol. Later, the Appams will be distributed to the devotees.  This is known as Moodappaseva, which is performed to fulfill the desired goals.

Mothiram Maral (ring exchange)

The practice of exchanging the finger rings by the bridegroom and bride at the time of marriage.  Sometimes, this is done before marriage also.


Muttarukkal is a famous offering in Kadampuzha Bhagavathy Temple in Malappuram District.  A priest will break a coconut in the stone placed in the inner shrine with prayers. The objective of the offering is to get protection from the enemies.
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