Family, Festivals, India, Parenting

Joint family system vs Nuclear family system – which is better?

India is one of the few countries which has a unique family system – the ‘joint family system’. In a joint family system, it is not only the parents who stay with their grown children and their spouse but there may be other members of the family living together as well. There might be two or three generations of a single paternal or maternal lineage living together. There might be a single family head or a group of elderly family members under whose direction the family might thrive. In a joint family system – food, career, religious regulations, responsibilities, finances might all be shared.

The nuclear family came into existence under the Western influence in India. The nuclear family consists only of the mother, father and the children. Once the children grow up, they will embark on their own independent journey. In a nuclear family, the roles and responsibilities might be shared by the husband and wife.

While many think the joint family system is dead in India, it is not. The bigger cities might not see it as much but the joint family system still exists.

Advantages and disadvantages of a joint family system:

The advantages of a joint family system will definitely be the ability to live together with anybody. Caring and sharing might be the motto behind all joint family systems. Trying to live with one’s own family members might not be easy all the time. But the people in a joint family system have definitely mastered it! 🙂 Learning to let go of certain things, adjusting to each other’s personalities, sharing the financial responsibilities are some of the advantages of a joint family system.

Children will be moulded better by learning to live with everybody. Adults will also get the companionship that they will miss in their old age. There might also be more events and celebrations at home. Children might learn the authentic way to celebrate religious festivals rather than Google it! 🙂 In addition, child care and taking care of elderly will not be given to organisations and will be managed in the family only.

The disadvantages of a joint family system might be the same as the advantage of a joint family system(what an irony! :))

No one might be constantly be able to live with everybody all the time and one will feel like they need some “me” time and “alone time”! There is also a possibility that you might be able to take any independent decisions and act on it instantly.

Advantages and disadvantages of a nuclear family:

The advantages of a nuclear family might be:

  1. the ability to take independent decisions and act on it instantly without asking anybody
  2. Not having to manage too many personal relationships
  3. Just the freedom of doing things your own way
  4. Not having to listen to anybody! 🙂

The disadvantages of nuclear family might be a little more different than other reasons. In a nuclear family, in many instances, the financial responsibility might fall solely on the husband’s shoulders. Thus, running a family, managing the household and the children has to be done only by 2 people (which is not an easy task) The husband -wife duo have to run to other people(baby sitters, day care centres, maids, cooks) to smoothly run their life.

So, which is good for whom? That just depends on each person and each husband-wife duo. If they are not comfortable in a joint family setting, it is better they manage alone and brave it all.

However, man being a social animal and we from India loving family and celebration – it is quite a possibility that most Indians cannot live away and alone all the time! 🙂 and they will live in a bit of both families combined together…:)

This post is the seventh post for the BlogchatterHalfMarathon

Festivals, India, Religion

Six abodes of Lord Muruga

Did you know that Tamizh kadavul, Lord Muruga(or Lord Kartikeya) has six abodes in Tamil Nadu? Lord Muruga himself is known by different names in Tamil Nadu. They are Kandan, Kumaran, Karthikeyan,Subramaniam, Balamurugan, Murugan, Balasubramaniam and many, many more. My own father’s name was Shri. N. Kandaswamy which is also one of the names of Lord Muruga.

The six abodes of Lord Muruga are known as ‘aaru padai veedu’ (six abodes) Each abode has a story associated with it. I have visited three of them for sure. Here they are:

Tiruparankundram:

Tiruparankundram on the outskirts of Madurai is the first abode of Lord Muruga. The God is known as Subramanya swamy in this temple. According to legend, Lord Muruga is supposed to have defeated the demon king Surapadman here. He also got married to Goddess Deivanai, daughter of Lord Indra at this very place. Because of this significance, it is considered to be very auspicious to be married here.

Tiruchendur:

Tiruchendur is the second abode of Lord Muruga. The temple is situated on the banks of the Bay of Bengal in Thoothukudi district in Tamil Nadu. The God is known as Sri Subramanya swamy in this abode.

Soorasamharam (victory of Lord Muruga over Surapadman) and Kanda Sashti are celebrated in a grand way in this temple.

Palani:

Palani is situated in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. It is home to Lord Muruga in the form known as ‘Lord Dandāyudhapani Swāmi‘. This is the third abode of Lord Muruga. Legend has it that Lord Muruga was angry since he did not win the fruit competition and stood in this place as a recluse. You can find more information about Palani at this site: Palani.org

Swamimalai:

Swamimalai is the fourth abode of Lord Muruga. The God is said to be teaching his father the meaning of the word ‘Om’ in this place. He whispers the meaning of the word into his father’s ear and there is a statue depicting the same story.

Swamimalai is located in Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu. There are 60 steps to reach this temple. The God is known as Swaminatha swamy in this abode.

Thiruthani:

Tiruttani is located about 100 km from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. This is fifth abode of Lord Muruga and the God is known as Subramanya swamy in this abode. Those who pray to the Lord in this abode are blessed with mental peace and happiness.

Pazhamudhircholai:

Pazhamudhircholai is located 25 kms north of Madurai, India. It is the sixth abode of Lord Muruga. The place is fertile and dense and is supposedly the place where the God’s other consort, Valli had lived. The God is known as ‘Solaimalai Murugan’ in this abode. Lord Muruga is seen with both his consorts Goddess Valli and Goddess Deivanai here.

The wordy duel between Tamil poet ‘Avvaiyar’ and Lord Muruga is said to have taken place here.

I have visited Palani, Tiruchendur, and Tiruparankundram for sure. Have you visited the other shrines? Which have you enjoyed the most?

This post is the sixth post for the BlogchatterHalfMarathon

Festivals, India

How we celebrate Navaratri…

India is so beautiful and diverse in its culture and traditions and each festival is celebrated in a different way in each corner of India. I am born and brought up in Tamil Nadu and the festival of Navaratri is celebrated in a yet another nice way.

Navaratri:

While I have hardly paid attention to the intricacies of Navaratri and its special significance, I do know that Navaratri is celebrated to cherish the victory of good over evil. Navaratri denotes 9 religious nights and in Tamil Nadu, each of the 3 days are associated with each Goddess. The first 3 days are devoted to Goddess Durga, the next 3 days are devoted to Goddess Lakshmi and the last 3 days are devoted to Goddess Saraswathi.

Golu:

There is always a tinge of happiness and festivity in the air before Navaratri starts. When we were children, we were very excited that our exams were over and we could celebrate the festival more peacefully and happily now! In Tamil Nadu, most homes who were celebrating ‘Navaratri’ had beautiful ‘golus’. A ‘golu’ is a collection of dolls on padis or steps. The steps had to be in odd number format. The steps were covered with a fabric and the dolls were placed on it. We can either make our own steps or you can get the ‘Golu stand’ from the store right away(which are foldable)

The ‘golu’ had dolls from the Hindu mythology and you can see various stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata depicted by the the dolls. The top most steps had idols of Gods and the ‘kalasham’ ( a jar with coconut and mango leaves) The lower steps have dolls depicting everyday life, weddings, bride and groom, kitchen play set and more. Seeing the ‘golu’ in different houses is always a delight!

While we never had a golu in our house, we used to have fun ‘golu hopping’ when we were young.

Thanks Suhasini for the image!

Golu hopping:

The most exciting part of the Navratri has to be the ‘golu’ hopping. We are always invited to a multitude of houses and little girls are dressed in beautiful pattu pavadai and make the house more happy with their giggles and laughs! They are encouraged to sing a nice song and the shy and the introverted girls soon croon a devotional song here and there!

Once the singing is over, prasadam mostly consisting of ‘sundal'(lentil) is distributed to all those who come home. The guests are then given vethalai, paku, mirror, comb as parting gifts.

Saraswathi Pooja/Ayudha Pooja and Vijayadasami:

The ninth day of Navaratri is celebrated as ‘Saraswathi Pooja’. On this day, the Goddess of learning, Goddess Saraswathi is worshipped. Goddess Saraswathi is decorated and we keep all our textbooks and notebooks from school/college/work before her. We keep sandalwood paste thilak and kumkum thilak on the books hoping the Goddess blesses us with abundant knowledge!

We were also instructed not to touch the books or open the books for a day at least (and we used to be very happy then – that we did not have to study for that day!! :))

‘Ayudha Puja’ is also celebrated on the day of ‘Saraswathi Puja’. We celebrate all the instruments in the house by first cleaning them and then applying ‘thilak’ to all appliances in the house like TV, refrigerator, car, bike and even the doors.

Thanks to Asha madini and anna for the picture!

Vijayadasami:

The 10th day after Navaratri is ‘Vijayadasami’. In Tamil Nadu, Vijayadasami is an auspicious day to start new activities. I remember I started to learn Bharatnatyam on a Vijayadasami day many,many years ago. Young children are encouraged to start any new pursuits on this day as it is supposed to be more successful that way.

After Vijayadasami is over, the dolls are carefully packed and put to sleep in their boxes. They will be refreshed again for the next Navaratri!

I hope you had fun celebrating Navaratri virtually through my words! This year, COVID playing truant, has kept most festivities under control. I hope the next year, we can celebrate ‘Golu’ with all gaiety and happiness!!

Stay tuned for more posts from my friends Lavanya, Kanika and Suhasini this Navaratri!

Festivals, India

Ganesh Chathurthi in Bengaluru,India!

‘ Ganesh Chathurthi’ is the birthday of Lord Ganesh – the first son of Lord Shiva and Shri Parvati according to Hindu mythology and it is celebrated for 10 days. Lord Ganesh is the elephant faced God and is the remover of obstacles. He is worshipped before beginning any task to achieve absolute success in it.

Celebrating Ganesh Chathurthi at home:

During the festival of Ganesh Chathurthi, many devotees buy a new idol of Lord Ganesh(made with clay or other materials) and decorate him with flowers and fruits. Markets are abuzz with the arrival of different statues of Lord Ganesh in different sizes and different themes.

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Ganesha’s in clay models and painted models along with ‘Gowri Ganesha’ (Ganesha’s mother)

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More Ganesha’s in different sizes

 

Flowers, fruits(wood apple – Lord Ganesh’s special fruit), ‘arugampul'(a type of grass – which is very special of for Lord Ganesh), mango leaves, small banana plants all abound the market. It is a treat to watch and experience the shopping scene around this time. Road side vendors sell the different things for a very small price.

 

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Roses in plenty!

Devotees also make ‘modaks'(made of rice flour, jaggery and coconut as one of its fillings) and ‘sundal'(made of garbanzo beans or moong dal and other spices and coconut) to Lord Ganesh and welcome him home.

‘Rangoli’ is drawn before houses and kids and adults are all dressed in fine ethnic wear making it an absolutely delightful event!

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Rangoli before the house!

He is immersed after 1, 3,5,7 or 11 days.

Immersion:

Due to several environmental concerns, many opt for clay made Ganesha’s instead of ‘plaster of paris’ ones.

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This helps one to immerse the idols at home in a pail of water. Immersing the idol after the apt day completes the Ganesh Chathurthi festival.