VALLAKAPU means baby shower in english and sreemantham in telugu and sreemantha in kannada.
Vallaikappu is baby shower in western speak. Vallaikappu is a combination of two words - vallai - meaning round (as in bangle) and kappu - meaning protection. This is a ceremony performed in South India during the 7th month of pregnancy for women.
The pregnant woman is made to wear many glass bangles - an odd number on one hand and an even number on the other - in addition to a set of gold and silver bangles. She is given many gifts and after this function the pregnant woman goes to her mother's place for childbirth.
The emotional part of the child's brain is said to be developed in the 7th month. As the mother recieves gifts and is adorned in bangles - she is happy and this happiness is transferred to the baby. Further, as this is the time the baby can also hear clearly, the sound from the clanging of the glass bangles amuses the baby.
vallaikappu is purely a ladies function.
after this function the lady will go their parents house for delivery .
vallaikappu function procedure:
The girl should have a head bath in the morning. It is customary to adorn her with 9 yard saree and then arrange bangles.
In some families, the girl is made to wear the saree specifically bought for Valaikappu.
In olden days, it was customary to buy a black saree for the masakai. These days, they buy it for Valaikappu. So, it is all upto ones preference and convenience.
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 girl facing east on the wooden plank. If the sister-in-law( the girl's husband's sister ) is available, make her garland the girl.
The girl's mother arranges the bangles in one hand and the mother-in-law in the other hand. If both elders are not available at that time, any elderly person can arrange the bangles in the girl's hand.
To start with, keep aside 5 green bangles and 5 red bangles in front of the God for the Kula Deivam( family deity ) and then for the amman in the temple. In some families, if there are young girls who passed away even before obtaining puberty, it is customary to keep aside bangles in their remembrance.
Arrange odd number of bangles in the left hand and even number of bangles in the right hand( 14, 15 - 21, 22 ).
First Neem leaf kaapu should be arranged, followed by gold and silver kappu. Try to arrange a thin anklet kind of bangle or Arakku bangle at the end to prevent the other bangles from gliding out.
When the girl gets up from the plank, ask her to perform one namaskaram common to all elders in the sabai.
In the same plank, it is customary to arrange bangles to another married woman without issues. This is called maru-manai.
After this, it is customary to perform Etri-Irakkudhal.
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 harathi.
It is customary to give bangles to all the woman attending the ceremony.
5 kinds of sweet/savouries are to be made. Besides a pair or paruppu thengai, varupayaru( pori kollu or varavarisi ), thiratti pal, a savory and another sweet can be made.
It is customary to give varupayaru along with betel leaf to all the attendees.
For the food, chitranam is to be cooked. When the girl sits down to eat, a young boy and a young girl is made to sit on her lap and a little of the rice varieties are given in an appalam to her.
In the evening, the girl can be seated in a manai and ladies can sing. This is upto the individual's convenience.
To the mother-in-law or any other relatives from the in-laws' side attending, money and blouse bit is given. It is upto individual's capability.
(Rated by 4 Council Members)