Today, I am overjoyed and humming with happiness. Of course, my background score, that is running on a loop is Sonu Nigam singing the song “Shukaran Allah Walla Humid Lila.” Somedays are filled with inner peace and contained happiness. One of those days happens to be today!
Yesterday, was my favorite festival event done each year after the Pongal day. If I am not able to do it at home, I would find a person to pair with and do it. I never miss the Kannu event as far as possible unless it was unavoidable. It is one my favorite events of celebration. It made me feel so filial and siblistorium (ha ha making up words!).
Amma made this celebration compulsory and instilled in both my sister and me to remember our brother and wish well in his life. But I always expanded it and wished for both my brothers’ and my sisters’ wellbeing in their life from all the lifetimes and future ones too. It was a prayer for the siblings, cousins and for people who I have made them my brothers and sisters through being associated with them.
Kannu and Its Significance According to Me
After the Pongal day which is the celebration of the Uttranayan shift of the Sun. With the first day of Thai Sun is on an official movement towards the northern hemisphere scaling. The lighter days are here and darker Dakshinayan shift is over. The spring would be here soon with coldness being replaced with pleasant warmth.
As an agriculture-based country depending on the Sun’s healthy movement, it is quite natural for the community to pray to their source of daily income. There is a special significance among the Brahmin community to remember and be thankful to their whole life throughout the year. There are a few things that is exclusively done by the girls for the well-being of their siblings.
My mother insisted that it was for my brother, but I felt it had greater significance and included the entire set of siblings and cousins. I saw it as a celebration of your brother and your sister. The act was a prayerful well-wish for the siblings and their well-being. Even back when I was Sophomore, I would always pray for all. I loved this event so much that I promised myself that I would do it wherever I am.
This year I included those brothers and sisters who I made due to association with them as a student. So, if we were to take up the concept of Vasudevakudumbakam, then except for your husband rest of the world becomes your sisters and brothers. All are related in this world. Peace and well-being are prayed for all of them. I usually see everything globally and believe that we are connected to each other despite our disagreements.
How Kannu is done?
On the day of Pongal, the Vengala or Brass pot in which the sakrapongal is cooked is tied with turmeric and ginger leaves with the turmeric and ginger roots. This is then used for rubbing on the foreheads of the girls after they complete the Kannu activity and have washed away the impurity of the event. Since we invoke the spirits of past, present, and future siblings, the performing girl is considered impure after the task. The event is finished off with elders offering their blessings on the girl and wishing her well in this lifetime.
The leftover dishes of the Pongal day feast get used for offering to the Sun god. The offering is done without taking a bath. As soon as you get up early in the morning before the Sun crosses the horizon. I remember feeling the coolness of the morning as the Sun’s rays are on the lower horizon lightening up the sky. The daybreak has happened, and you can hear the cheery chirps of the birds. The early morning Koel’s call would be done and the parrots would be flying across the sky in Vee formation in search for the food. Cooing of the doves in the surrounding buildings reminds you of the Mother Nature and her calls for an inspired day.
The Setup and the Offering
The Turmeric leaves are broader than ginger leaves. Ideally the leaves from the Pongal Panai or Pongal cooked pot are shriveled and unusable. So, the leftover leaves are used for the offering of the Kannu. There are Seven lifetimes, and the seven number has a significant role. Seven is also a Spiritual number. It is a Hindu belief that the soul is born seven times as human.
So, the Kannu is offered for all the brothers and sisters of the seven lifetimes. So, if the siblings are from the past, present and future, then you are considered in impure state while offering. Then you have a head bath to remove the Kannu Pedai. Because it is still believed that the soul’s journey in this world of materialism. The goal in the human life is beyond the relationship and to become one with the Lord and be birthless soul.
The leaves are arranged one below the other on a Rangoli done simply with raw rice flour. On the northern side is a separate rangoli for the prayer thali or plate. In this there is a lamp, betel leaves, betel nuts, banana fruit, a brass container water and a spoon, bell to invoke the offering provided to Sun god.
You offer seven balls of each dish from the left to right. Once I have finished up with all the seven balls of all the dishes which are the Red rice, the Yellow rice (both these rice dishes are made by mixing diced tender turmeric or dry turmeric powder. The redness comes from the Sunambu or lime cream added to the turmeric rice results in its redness), Sakrapongal, the Thai Pongal Kuttu, the Curd Rice, the Sugarcane cubes, and the Banana fruit. Once they were laid out then the laid leaves had to be offered to the Sun gods praising His journey across the horizons.
The act of seven lifetimes and the desire for siblings’ well-being is the prayerful act of the Kannu event. I have made it more international. So, I always prayed for all the people who I have made into my brothers and sisters from various nations. I hope for peace and joy in their lives.
We offer these leaves and content to the Sun god by turning the water around the leaves thrice and then it is has been offered to the Sun god. The last act of this event is to Kowtow to the leaves and hope all of whom you prayed for are happy and living a wonderful life of joy.
Here’s Wishing You and All in Your Family a Wonderful life of joy and happiness!
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