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Folk Practices in Rajavoor

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== Folk Practices:


Every religion is dressed up with the ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of the official religion. So the religion has to be defined as the totality of all those views and practices of religion that exist among the people apart from strictly theological and liturgical forms of the official religion. So for the Folk Practices those are derived from the people place an important role in understanding the religion. In that way it is a 2 way growth, both the faith of the people and the Folk Practices are growing with the help of the other. I could see lots of such Folk Practices in me, my family, my village and in my diocese.

3.1Folk Practices practised by me and my family members:

It was not the doctrine or dogma that had only strengthened my life and my family members, but it is the Folk Practices we had. It is very difficult for the ordinary people to understand the all official teachings of the church, but it was very easy for the people to understand the legends behind a folk practice and increase the faith in God through those Folk Practices. It is also so in my life. I never hesitated to follow them.

3.1.1 Sharing of food (asanam):

Every year in my family during the death anniversary of my grandparents, my mother invites some poor people in my village to my house and we were sharing our food with them. The idea behind this sharing is that, through those sharing of food and that prayer before the meals we are praying for the reposes souls of my grandparents. In a way it was also helped us to pray for ourselves. On the other hand it was also a teaching for me and my brother that we should help the poor and that would give a reward in heaven.

3.1.2 Keeping the photo of sacred heart of Jesus in the house:

We can find the photo of Sacred Heart of Jesus in almost all the houses in our villages even in other villages. It is believed that if we do so we would be relived of the sufferings in our life and also it is said that the photo will keep us away from all evils. But on the other hand it was also a chance for the family members to pray every day. Since, the photo is inside the hall whenever I enter my house I always look at this and pray to God. Most of the times, I heard my mother that Jesus is looking at me all the times. That also prevented me from the misbehaviors in the house.

3.1.3 Sprinkling the holy water around the house:

Sprinkling the holy water, putting incense around the house and using blessed things in the house are very common in most of our houses. We get these from the church or some of the popular shrines and use them in our houses. we believe that these would protect us from the evil.

3.2Folk Practices practices in Rajavoor:

The base of Folk Christianity is the people, popular devotions, pilgrimages, charismatic meetings and shrines are secular by nature that they are directly linked with the official religion. It attracts people of all faith. There is no discrimination here. Hence, it has a tremendous scope for mobilizing and organizing the people on a secular basis to meet the challenges and problems they face in their lives. Besides, it is here we can think of bringing religious harmony and peaceful living among people of all religions. This is the place we find a longing to participation of the people. It is also the place for their relief.

We can find number of such practices in my village. It became the part and partial of our lives. And it also helped us to increase our faith in God. The people in various places come there because of those practices. Let me illustrate some of them there.

3.2.1 Car Procession: (Therottam)

Car procession (Therottam) is one of the famous folk practices at Rajavoor. During the last days of the feast of St. Michael this practice would be held. People from faraway places come to witness this event and have a devotion to St. Michael. They would take 3 saints Roch (the 2nd Patron of Rajavoor) and St.Michael (Patron saint of Rajavoor) and Mary in that car (Ther) and go around the streets of Rajavoor. This signifies that the saints are coming into our streets so they would help us in interceding prayers and protect the people from all the evils. For the devotees it is a great moment that they see the saints with them in the streets, by which they feel the accompaniment of those saints and also they believed that during that time the grace from god through the saints would be poured out to them. Most of the people those who are participation will put some money in the dumb box in that car, a quite a few participants will offer a garland to that saint. Some devotees take those garlands to their houses.

3.2.2 Offering of Pepper and Salt:

The quality of salt and pepper is to purify. At Rajavoor we find lots of people offering pepper and salt in order to get well from their diseases. People used to offer them and also as a medicine for their illness they take them to their home. Some of them also keep oil, garland, water etc., in front of the saint’s statue for the blessing from that saint. People believe that whatever they keep in front of the saint’s statue have been blessed by those saints and they have the healing power.

3.2.3 Giving Prasad:

People as a vow offering prepare a Prasad and keep them in front of Saint to be blessed and share them to the people who are coming to that shrine. The people those who are giving believe that by those offerings their wishes would be fulfilled, and the one who receives also feels that these Prasad as the grace directly given by those saints. Here they would feel no difference of caste or status. Every one receives the same as the other receives. This also allows the people to gain the sharing mentality.

3.2.4 Neem tree:

Neem tree has anti-bacterial capacity that helps in fighting against skin infections. Neem extracts also helps in treating diabetes, cancer, heart disease and several other diseases. That is the reason we find Neem trees in many of the shrines and the hospitals. It is also true in the case of our place Rajavoor. There are lots of Neem trees inside the church campus. People grind the leaves of the Neem tree and apply in the places where they have wounds, cancer or some other related problems. People feel that by applying them they get recovered.

3.2.5 Visiting St. Michael 13 times:

The number 13 has a significant value. It is a number of great promises and blessings. People believed that continually 13 weeks paying visit to St. Michael and praying through him will be a great devotion to St. Michael and by doing this their prayers would be heard. So we can see at Rajavoor that people come continually 13 weeks with the particular wish or prayer to be fulfilled. And it is also said that those who were visiting continually 13 weeks received the blessings from St. Michael.

3.2.6 Family gatherings:

Every year during one of the feast days the people of our village used to come together for a common meal prepared by the church. This is one among the folk practice which keeps our village together. It is the place where the people of our village share their love to one another. Without any difference the food will be shared and they eat. This brings unity among our village people.

3.2.7 Fortune Telling:

Fortune telling is the practice of predicting information about a person's life. A person who is possessed by the good or evil spirit would explain and communicates the future happenings about others life. Many times in the ‘Peiattam’ at Rajavoor the people who are possessed by the spirit tell them by murmuring, in many of the cases they themselves do not know but very few by pointing them tell the difficulties in the life of the others person and the solution to solve those difficult moments too. In the earlier days in Rajavoor the folk practice called ‘Fortune telling’ is very famous. Many people visit Rajavoor in order to here the Fortune telling from a possessed person. In most of those cases the predictions made by those people were true and the people also benefited a lot through those practices. But even now a good number of people come to Rajavoor to hear that.

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