Monday, June 18, 2007

Launch of a vallom (country boat) - 2

Jacob, barefoot and wearing the traditional dothi, lights the lamp for pooja at our landing. All auspicious functions are conducted with the fire as witness – ‘Agnisakshi’.

This is a solemn moment. The master carpenter hands over the anchor oar to the owner. Symbolically it means that the boat is ready to be launched. No words are said. But there are silent payers; may the wind be always with her.

Jacob passes on the oar to Sankunni, our senior ‘valan’ (fisherman caste), the eldest nephew of Shankaran (see Komana Kadu.). He has the honor to be the ‘captain’ of Parayil Rose on her maiden voyage. After this, gifts are distributed to the master carpenter and his team, and sweets to all present.

These are produces of the land as offering to the goddess of the waters.

After walking around the vallom three times with a coconut in his hand, Jacob breaks it on the bow of the boat and pours the water into the hull. This is a traditional ritual. Now Parayil Rose is ready to be launched.

Click on images to enlarge

Photos: Chackochan

© Thekkanattu Parayil

To be continued.

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