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Dear Members

I have started this thread to know all about the title - sumangalip poondugal.

I have read some posts saying that it is a family function.

Ok, as far as I know about it - it celebrates the ladies of the family (particularly the MIL) who died before their husband i.e. as a sumangali!

In my family, following the 'thevasam' of grandma (who was a sumangali) the next day is celebrated as 'sumangalip piraththanaai' in which they seek the blessings of the 'sumangali' lady.

Odd number of ladies are invited for lunch. Various gifts are given to them. 'Nalangu iduthal' is done to them. This is the only function in which the ladies eat before the men eat! :) (mock)

Ok, so far so good, but due to shortage of family members, there have been MANY MANY occassions when non family, brahmins ladies have been invited to partake in this function (in my house)! (Now, I don't want other members who have done similarly to act innocent and tell that it has never happened in their house and one and only my house in the whole wide world is at fault.)

If other members (nonfamily) but brahmins are invited, then how come this is a family function?? If this is the norm, then, are NB not sumangalis???

Why are they excluded???

I need true answers, even if it extols of supremacy.

Kind regards

P.S. More later.
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In the book dharma sastra sangraham written by s. v.radha krishna sastrigal and published by surabi jagatguru sathapthi publications chennai 33 in 6th chapter page 220 sraatha devargal are there. to control pithrus in pithru lokam. There are 8 vasukkal, 11 rudhras and 12 audhithyargal,

Pitrus are coming : father in the form of vasu, grand father in the form of rudhrar and fathers grand father in the form of audhithyar. these persons are named as pithrus. There is another devar group.they are 12 in numbers. In the yearly sratham 2 viswedevars are escorting pitrus and they are called pruruvar and ardhravar.

During mahalaya sraatham time thuru and ruchi viswedevar are escorting pitrus. During naandhi mukha pithru sraatham sathyar and vasu named viswedevars are escorting pithrus. during sapindeekarana sraatham kaalar and kaamar named viswedevars are escorting the pitrus. For sraatham of sanyaasis viswedevars are called saadhu and guru. In yaagams kradhu and dhakshar are viswedevar escorting pithrus.

The wifes of these viswedevar and their young female children are requested to give their blessings for the children who are going to have upanayanam or marriage.

This function is called sumangali prarthana or sumangali pondugal.

In the family if a lady expires as sumangali every year immediately after the next sratham day sumangali prarthana should be done.

to be continued.
Some families are lucky and they ae getting blessings every yearby doing sumangali prarthanai. If a lady expires on dasami or on chathurdasi day the next day will be ekadasi day or amavasai day. ladies are refusing to take oil bath on amavasai day. oil bath with pure gingilly oil should not be taken. Mix some water and ghee with gingilly oil and then it can be used for oil bath. or heat the gingilly oil pour 2 milagu (pepper) and thulasi leaves or /and a piece of betel. now it becomes thailam. no restrictions are there to use thailam . they can use this for oil bath.

Just like naandhi this is done for ladies . In naandhi viswedevars who are escorting pithrus are pleased and they are giving their blessings. Their wives and young female chidren are invited during this sumangali prarthana to get their blessings. This is also equal to nandhi sratham.

In olden days each family will have 6 female and 5 or more male children. so they will call their married daughters for this function. Minimum 5 including swamy elai and 2 kanni pon elai are required. This should be given to the very poor class brahmin sumangalis.(9 yards sarees with blouse with saapaadu who are not in your gothram). But if you are requested to give this to your married daughter you will be happily do this.

Now a days only two children one male and one female or both males or females. for the future generations They have to call other brahmin sumangalies from other gothrams. For sratham also same gothram sastrigals should not sit in pithru sthaanam.

You may request your sastrigal on the sratham day itself to give you 5 or 7 plantain leaf dhonnai for sumangali prarthana. and you can use it on sumangali prarthana day for the sumangalis. you may invite them by giving oil, vasanai podi, shikakai powder and manjal thool even one week before.

For those who are doing ocaasionally before their children's poonal or maariage they have to see the following auspicious day to do this.
months aadi, purataasi, margali and masi months should be avoided.

except tuesday and saturday all other days are o k for doing this.

Thithi: prathamai; astami,navami ekadasi and stars bharani, karthigai, kettai and marana yogam and karinal day should be avoided.

Yama kandam Rahu kalam kuligai kalam should be avoided.

On friday if navami thithi ends by about 11-30 a.m. you can start sumangali prarthana from 12 noon

The eldest sumangali in that house is the kartha for sumangali prarthanai.

The married daughter of that family must be compulsarily invited.

i have found the inclusion or exclusion of who attends and who is not invited, depends on the families and family politics, irrespective of all the supposed to-be-accumulated blessings bestowed by those who are departed.

in our family, recently, there was no young virgin girl. so a 8 year unknown girl was brought to sit in the kanya ponnu plate. dispassionately describing this girl - she was from a lower middle class family, though dressed in her best, had eczema and other skin ailments, which the ladies accepted without comment. i remember, the elder one, who asked for a kanya ponnu, insisted on someone not yet matured, as she felt, there was no guarantee of virginity with anyone above 16, in chennai :)

re the invitees - some were out of caste (married into the family) and others lived in the west. it is presumed many of the invitees had tasted meat or had alcohol. but to the lady of the house this did not matter. she said so openly. to her what mattered was the love and affection shown by the departed, towards the said ladies, and all their 'habits' were inconsequential and forgiven.

i have heard that in other homes, if a girl marries out of caste, she is banished forever. very sad. very stupid. i think in such cases, there is more family politics and manipulation at play, and not any concern towards piety or such like. none of these people are religious anyway and hence use these occassions to ensure that they are 'good' sons or daughters, with probably, some inheritance in mind. :)

money, i say, is the root of all shenanigans.

on a more intimate level, in this forum, i can see situations, where a beloved son, married to a foreign spouse, who i am quite sure will be accommodated in a pondugal idal function, with the ladies of the house, dress the foreign lady like doll in our sari, and explain the significance of the function. that the said lady might be a veggie now, does not discount the fact, that at some point she or cases like hers, might have consumed meat or alcohol. i welcome such initiatives. we as a community, hiding under the garb of piety, think of 1001 reasons to exclude folks. for whenever it suits us, we bend the rules. don't we? a relative of mine, now a 'symbol of orthodoxy' conveniently forgot that his daughter, in order to start processing of usa visa, some years ago, had arranged a proxy marriage over the phone, for official purposes. such is the colour of hypocracy!!
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Pregnant sumangalis from the fifth month are not eligible and also after delivery for five months are not eligible to sit in the sumangali prarthnai.

They can sit and take meals along with other sumangalis but they will not be counted as sumangali pondugal Kanyapon age should be from 5 to 12 in age. new moon and full day are also not good for sumangali prarthanai.

Requirements for sumangali prarthanai: 9 yards saree except black colour all other colours are welcome. blouse bits without black colour 5 nos. minimum. foy kanya pon dress .as per their age. Girls who have attained puberty but not married are not allowed to participate.sumangalis who are nearing' periods' are not allowed to participate.

Turmeric powder 100 grams; kumkumam 20 grams; sandalwood powder 10 grams.urundai manjal 250 gram; scented chunnam (chunnaambu) one bottle; betel 100 nos; kali paaku 100 grams; paakku pottalam 10 nos; 50 gram gingilly oil pockets 10 nos; 50 grams shihakai powder 10 nos; shampoo 5 sachets; vaasanai podi 100 grams; comb 10 nos; small size mirrors 10 nos;

glass bangles 40 nos; turmeric powder and kumkumam each 10 nos with small plastic container. uthri pushpam 200 grams; thodutha pushpam 5 meter. honey 1 bottle; fruits banana 25 nos; apple 4 nos; pomegrante 2 nos; oranges 5 nos; mango 2 nos; jackfruit sulai 10 nos; grapes 500 grams.

milk to make curd 2 litre. butter to make ghee 1 kilo; cardamom (elakai) 25 grams; dried ginger (sukku) 25 grams; coconut 5 nos; coconut with husk 7 nos; corriander leaves and curry leaves 100 grams each; plantain nuni (thalai vala) elai15 nos; salt 1 kg; maida 1 kg; sun flower oil 1 litre; black gram whitened 1 kg; toor dhall 500 gram; green gram dhall 500 gram; bengal gram 100 gram; red chillies 100grams; coriander 100 grams; jaggary 2 kilo; kadugu milagu and jeeragam each 50 gram.

4 trays; brass thambalam 2; knief 1 scissors 1 . 2 kuthu vilakku 20 nthiri; gingilly oil for deepam; match box; lit 5 faces in each kuthu vilakku and pour oil as and when required until the function is over. containers for chandhanam karaithu vaikka; another container for nalangu maavu manjal podi plus chunnambu and water. container for paanakam =jaggary, water and cardamum powder mixed. container for sukkupowder and jaggary mixture. container for neer mor = curd+water+corrianderleaves and curry leaves and kadugu thaalippu.

One big brass kudam filled with water; one mirror; photos of MIL. gold chain. gold bangles etc; whichn are available with you. wooden palakai 10nos; or 2 nos wooden palakai and 8 nos; thadukku for the sumangalis to sit;camphor 1 pocket; oodhu pathi and deepa kal; and stand for scented sticks and for camphor.pancha pathra uthirini.with water.

Plantain (monthan) kai 6 nos; white pumpkin 1kg; avarai or kothavari 500 grams; ladies finger =vendai kai 200 rams; lemon 5 nos; bitter gourd 200 grams; ginger 50 gram; mango kai 1 no for pickle;

Thanjavur district samayal: Paruppu payasam;with jaggary this should be placed in the right side of the participant elain kil baagam; mel bagam elain nuniyilirindu aarambithu in clock wise manner serve sugar or sweet, plantain fruit; fruit pachadi; thair pachadi;kosumalli sweet and kaaram; plantain kai curry and avarai curry; pumpkin kootu; ulundu vadai; variety rice=lemon rice and coconut rice or tamirand rice poli made out of jaggary; left side pickles and thogayal; Dhall cooked rice and ghee mor kulambu rasam and curd.

In kerala side thengai pal will be given after rasam saadam.
For this samayal use all which are bought from provision shop. we do not use the provisions which we are using daily. The remainig portion of the newly bought provisions will be used for daily use.

On the previous day or even before to the sumangali prarthanai one must take gingilly oil shihakai powder vaasanai podi manjal podi and kumkum to the houses of all ladies who are participating,

They must be requested to have oil bath with this and come to partake of food with wearing 9 yards saree. If you are having sufficient place in your house you may request them to come to your house and take oil bath in your house. for which you have to get their 9 yards saree and inner garments on the previous day itself and you have to pour water after sunset ,spin and it must be spread in the upstairs to dry.

Also you must have more than one bath room or it will be very late to have all participants to take oil bath in your house. also you must have enough space to spread the wet clothes for all the participants. The border (thalapu) should not face south.
The daughters in law are not allowed to sit as pondugal because of same gothram. This may vary with aathu palakkam and ooru palakkam Washing of brass vessals and trays and kuthu vilakku and gas stove willbe there on the previous night.

On the morning of the day wash the entrance of the house and draw maavu kolam kalyana kolam and put semman and place mango leaf bunches on the main door. The eldest sumangali person of that house is the kartha. the kartha and her daughter in laws will not take oil bath. The kartha wil take snaanam and then only the 9 yards saree and a blouse bit will be drenched in water facing eastafter having applied manjal podi , kumkumam and a drop of oil shikakai powder and spin to dry and then spread it to make it dry with thalaipu not facing south.in the auspicous time that is after seeing gowri panchangam. in the auspicious time put a palagai request the sister or boys/girls father's sister to sit on the palagai give her kumkumam and place oil on her head and sumangali pondugalaga varikkavum.

let us name the place where we are going to place the saree as pudavai kalam. put a square maavu kolan on the floor over that put a palagai and put mavu kolam on that. In front of that put a mavu kolam to place the nuni elai; on both sides of the pudavai kalam put maavu kolam for 2 nuni elais beside for elais facing north or east or west.

Fold the dry saree or kosuvi so that the pallu comes on the top . the corner of the same should not face south.fold the blouse and keep it above the saree. then keep the following. one medium size or big size mirror. on one tray place 100 betels, more kali pakku, urundai manjal in plenty, banana fruits about 12 in nos and flowers.10 yards of thodutha pushpam malli or kadambam and roses, in another tray put maruthani, nalangu mavu, sukku vellam, put gold chain or other gold ornaments above the saree.

place a brass kudam filled with water and elaikai powder. some family will put dry ginger powder also. one sombu paanakam with cardamom powder and one sombu neer mor with curryleaves and coriander leaves salt and kadugu thaalippu. family custom will differ here also.2 coconuts pasted with manjal powder.keep the pavadai thundu and ravikai thundu for the kanya pen should also placed here.

dakshinai coins to be given to these pondugal.with betel and betel nut glass bangles, manjal kumkum eyetex; maruthani mirror and comb.on the kolam in front of the pudavai kalam put double nuni elai (after washing all the nuni elais with water) one overlapping the other as you are doing for sratham. elai nuni should not face south. On other mavu kolams nuni elai and drinking water.

Start before or after rahu kalam. When the ladies arrive give them turmeric powder and water to wash their water apply and come.Then give them chandanam kumkumam flowers and ask them to sit or stand as per family custom near the nuni elais..
Offer all items of menu to the pudavai kalam first and then serve to all clockwise without ending in south direction. Show doopam and deepam to pudavai kalam first and then to all vlockwise without ending in south direction.after taking oil bath before starting taking food in the nuni elai these pondugal should not take any food or water or coffee. Because they should not pass urine or hoding urine in the bladder which will irritate them .

so before applying oil on their head they have to take milk or fruits as now a days all are having diabetus. The conducting person now should take in the hand manjal akshadai,flowers, manjal podi,chandanam, kumkumamand a uthirini of water sprinkle below the pallu of the saree in the pudavai kalasam and (in mind) pay respects to all the deceased members of the family by calling their names and also tell arindava ariyathava therindava theriyathva ellorum sapida varungal enru alaikka vendum then tell if there is any fault or deficient forgive me and help me and bless us in the coming marriage or poonal pour the akshadai and flowers and chandanam and kumkumam on the kalasa pudavai do pradhakshina namaskaram facing the pudavai.

Do neivedhyam to the swamy (pudavai) eleai with broken coconut banana fruits and thammboolam. Then camphor karpoora arathi to swamy elai and then to all pondugal. In some families no kalpoora harathy. Then offer one uthiri of water from pancha pathram first to the swamy elai and then to each pondugal on their right hand. they have to drink this all in the same time. then saapaadu can start. after meals is over for all the sumangalis pour one uthirini of waterfirst to swami elai and then to all and they have to take in the same time. nobody should get up half way through.

move the pudavai kalamto north. After the meals the ladies should br given neer mor, paanakam, sukku vellam. then smear haldi on their legs and put nalangu on their legs,offer flowers chandanam kumkumam.give them thamboolam and chunnam. keep in a plate the gifts=for each betel pakku banana dhakshinai, blouse bit co conut with husk gundu manjal,c omb,mirror, glass bangles,eyetex,maruthani, give this on their pallu (pudavai thalapu)

Give manjal akshadai on their hand do namaskaram and ask them to bless.you. give the dhaavani to the kanya pon who will be your grand daughter. The kartha and the other daughter in law of that house will share the swamy elai meals.These pondugals should not take food at that night. they can take fruits and milk.

In the evening in an auspicious time the daughter of the kartha or the sister in law ch member of that family must do like this and also male members after taking bath should do as written above, decorate both the mirror and saree and mil's photo with thodutha pushpam and in some families they are putting marapachi in front of the mirror,
In the evening in an auspicious time the daughter of that family or sister in law will wear the pudavai and then after sometime it will be placed on the palakai. only on the next day the pudavai will be given to the daughter of the family or tosome poor class people according to the family custom. If the daughter is not wearing 9 yards daily that 9 yards may be taken by the daughter in law or sister in law and a 6 yards saree will be given to the daughter.

In some family this pudavai is kept in the loft in a mud pot and in the next time when they are doing this the old one from loft will be used by the daughter and the new one will go to the loft with the mud pot.
I refer to post no.1 where it is stated that 'Sumangali Prarthanai' is the only function where ladies eat first before men.
I think ladies eat first during 'Karadaiyan Nonbu' (First day of Last Month i.e;Panguni)when married ladies pray for welfare
of their husbands.In fact they eat first and leave something for husband to share subsequently
Once I was advised by a learned person to perform a ceremony similar to 'Sumangali Prarthanai'.
Here we recall into memory (in a collective manner)all persons who were born into the family but not alive.
This may include even children who die in the womb before delivery,abortions etc.
All items to be cooked that day is kept in a Full Plaintain Leaf.New cotton clothes are also kept to be worn after bath.
Any member of the family who earns will have to contribute to the total cost. For non earning members, the Head of the family will bear the cost.
The entire family members assemble after taking bath and wearing new clothes and pray to all the members of the family(who are no longer alive on that day)
to pardon the present and future members of the family,if they were not attended to properly when they were alive or some post death rituals were not done properly or to their satisfaction and to bless all living members of the family forever.
After this prayer the items kept in the Plaintain leaf will be cooked and all members share the meals after wearing new cotton clothes.
No outsiders need be called or there is no need for any Priest or Purohit.
I liked the idea and performed for a few years till expiry of my wife in 2003.
One can make changes to the above to suit their convenience and perform this ritual.
This ritual was recommended to be performed on a 'Amavasya Day' of the month in which my father expired.
The Srardha thithi is on a different date.There was no difficulty in performing this ritual which is not cumbersome
and gives you mental solace.
The person whom I consulted was an astrologer with more than 60 years of astrological practice.He was 86 years old when I consulted him.
He informed me that when he was young,he used to observe that most of the horoscopes were 'suddha jadhagams' and horoscopes with 'Dosha' were very few. Now a days, he hardly saw 'suddah jadhagam'. Everyone was having some dosham or the other.
According to his view all these things are a result of our living against 'Nature'
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