My previous posts on the topic are here;
Significance and Traditions:
As I mentioned earlier in my posts , it is believed that the threshold symbolises Goddess Lakshmi and also that she resides there. It is believed that beautifying the house and its surroundings will attract Her into the houses and the occupants will have health, wealth, prosperity and happiness. That is why the thresholds are decorated and offered prayers.
So many traditions are related with thresholds. Here are some:
1. On auspicious occasions: All the thresholds are smeared with turmeric and decorated with vermilion especially or Tuesdays and Fridays and also on all festivals or auspicious occasions celebrated by the household like marriages etc. Flowers are placed on either side of threshold as a mark of respect daily, or on Tuesdays, Fridays and on all auspicious occasions.There is also the tradition of offering Tamboolam (2-3 betel leaves, areca nuts, fruits and flowers) to the Threshold considering it as Goddess Lakshmi or Goddess Gauri.
This is done to all thresholds if not to all at least to the one at the main entrance and the one which is leads to the back yard (in olden days many households had only two doorways-one main entrance from outside into the house and one leading from the house to the backyard-that is from inside the house to outside). All this is done by the lady of the house or women/young girls of the house.
In olden days when oil lamps were used, these were placed on either side of the thresholds in the evenings.
2. New House: When a new house is constructed or bought and the family is celebrating the house warming function Known as Ghriha Pravesham, first yellow pumpkin and ash gourds are broke open as a ritual symbolising the sacrifice or offering at the thresh hold of the main door. At each threshold coconuts are offered.
A cow with a calf is made to cross the main threshold and enter into the house. Only then the couple owning the house, enter carrying Lord Satyanarayana Swami's photo. Daughters of the house (including paternal aunts) carry vessels(silver copper or bronze pots) with water. Then come the other family members and friends carrying all auspicious things like turmeric, vermilion, flowers, fruits, milk etc used for Puja (offerings).
3. Children crossing the thresholds: When a child of the house crosses the threshold for the first time, it is celebrated with much fervour among the family. Special dish called Vada (or Garelu) made of black gram flour is prepared (something like a Doughnut) and distributed among family and neighbours.
4. Bride: When a bride enters the house hold for the first time after the marriage, there is a ceremony at the threshold. Before crossing the main threshold, the couple have to say the name of each other.
Groom's sisters stop the couple at the threshold for this. They will not allow unless the couple say each others name and their brother give them some hefty amount or gifts. Usually a newly wed bride is shy and may not tell her husband's name. There is also a tradition in our regions where a wife never calls her husband by his name. She would not even utter that name in front of others. Many still follow this. Well there are many ways in which the bride indirectly hints at her husbands name with out actually saying it. There are so many riddles or short verses we come across in our literature where in women have hinted their husband's name on such occasions. These are fun to read and decipher that name.
Now the smearing of turmeric has been replaced by painting it with yellow red, white and green colours at least in big cities and towns. I am fascinated by the art that is displayed on these thresholds.
Here is one that caught my eye at the entrance of one of the temples. See the floral design.
In fact there will be vary massive thresholds in big temples.
Here is one where you can see one more design painted on the threshold.
Some more of this art next time......Hope You can get a glimpse of our Indian customs and traditions and enjoy reading them.....