THE CULTURE AND CUSTOM OF THE INDIAN COMMUNITY: BIRTH: DURING PREGNANCY
The valaikaappucustom is conducted when a woman maiden pregnancy is seven to nine months, on a suitable day and time according to the Indian calendar. The ceremony is held at her husband or parent house conducted by women called Cumanggali that is those who are married and with children.
The pregnant woman is adorned with a new bracelet called Suulkaapu to protect the baby inside her from difficulties during birth. Suul means the baby in confinement while Kaapu means protection. The bracelets come in various types like glass, metal and gold according to one ability. After the baby is born the gold bracelet will be smelted to make jewelries for the baby to be worn during the giving of name ceremony.
On the day the custom is held gifts to the pregnant woman, called Ciir, are arranged on odd-numbered trays in the living room. The gifts are jewelries including bracelets, sari, and various types of sweets. Lamp oil called Kuttu Vilakku are lighted to ask for blessings from God and to begin the ceremony.
The Cumanggali begins the ceremony by smearing sandalwood cream on the pregnant woman both palms and cheeks, kumkum on the forehead, and bracelets are worn. The woman is then bathed with milk, saffron water, young coconut juice, scented water and flowers in a ceremony called Mutugu Niir/Kulittal. After the bath the woman is adorned like a bride with flower garland and she puts on her marriage sari or a new one.
Various foods are prepared like rice, cakes, and fruits as well as decorations like flowers. The pregnant woman is fed with the prepared foods who will then present the Cumanggali with gifts of betel leaves and betel nuts, saffron, flowers and bracelets.