Saturday, December 4, 2010

Suthakam and Asowcham

Compiled by P.R.Ramachander

Many of you may not familiar with this Sanskrit terminology and would find the above words difficult to understand. In our parts (village near Trichur), it is called Pelai and Valamai. Possibly different terminologies are used about it among our community itself in different parts. An article in this subject has been written by SriVatsa Ve. Somadeva Sharma in the latest issue of Brhama Sandesham (april 2003). This is based on an authoritative book called “Vaidyanatha Deekshitham-Asowcha Kandam.”I am giving here only the high lights Please note that Gnathi or Sapindar or Dayadhi are all those people who belong to seven generations of our paternal Family.

Suthakam or Valamai
This is the ten-day period of exclusion observed by certain family members when a child is born in the family. If a male child is born in a family all the Gnathis have to observe ten days of exclusion .If a sraddham comes during this period it has to be carried out after ten days only. Normally people do not visit temples during this period. This is not applicable to unmarried girls and Brahmacharis in the family. They are not affected by Suthakam,
A: The following people should observe Valamai* for 10 days: -

1.Married Brothers of the newborn baby
2.Married Step and half brothers
3.Wives of the brothers
4.Father, Fathers brothers
5.Paternal cousins of father
6.Paternal grandfather and his brothers and paternal cousins and their wives.

The following people should observe three days of exclusion: -

1.Maternal grandfather and grandmother

The following people should observe one day of exclusion: -

1.Uncle of the baby

The mother should observe 30 days exclusion in case of male child and 40 days exclusion in case of female child. After this she should wear new Mangalya Charadu, and take Panchagavyam. After this only she is eligible to touch the vessels in the house.

B: Asowcham or Pelai

During this period except bath and sandhya vandanam nothing else should be performed.

(1) Ten days Pelai

The following people should observe Pelai if death occurs in the family except in case when the male baby dies before ten days of birth or after marriage in case of female children: -
4.Step and half brothers
For male children of less than 7 years who had upanayanam and all of them above seven years, all the gnathis should observe ten days Pelai
(2) Three days Pelai
When death occurs to the above category of people the following people should observe three days of Pelai
1.Maternal grand parents
2.Maternal uncle and his wife
3.Parents in law
4.Mother’s sisters
5.Paternal aunts (Athai)
6.Sisters son whose Upanayanam is performed
7.Daughter’s son whose upanayanam is performed
8.Gnathis above seven generation called Samonathakar
9.Married daughter
10.Married sister
11.Real parents in case of adopted child
12.Son who has been given in adoption
13.All girls in families of Gnatis who are above 7 years but not married
14.From 25 month old to 6 years male children in Gnathis families who did not have upanayanam
(3) Special three days Pelai for married girls that is not shared by their husband or children
1.Brother who had Upanayanam
2,Brothers son who had Upanayanam
3.Sister’s son who had upanayanam
4.Step Mother of mother
(4) one and half days Pelai(two nights and a day or two days and one night)
(a)For Males
1.Paternal Aunts children
2.Maternal uncle’s children
3.Mother’s sisters and their children
4.Sister’s daughter
5.Married daughter of own brother
6.Daughter of paternal uncles
7.Son’s daughter
8.Daughter’s daughter
9.Daughter’s son whose Upanayanam has not been performed
10.Sister’s son whose upanayanam has not been performed

(b)For Ladies
1.Paternal uncles and their children
2.Maternal aunts and their children
3.Maternal uncle and their children
4.Paternal aunt and their children
5.Paternal grand parents
6.Maternal grand parents
7.Own sister and her daughter
8.Brother’s daughter



  1. Thanks For detailed update on this.. But still need a small clarificacation on above. As I was planning to go sabarimalai and during this period my Dad's Elder Sister passed away. In this scenario, how many days pelai for me.(am married and having child too).

    Swami sarnam

  2. You have asoucha for two days and one night after the death,

  3. Dear sir,

    I have a question. We are brahmins. My uncle who is elder brother to my father has expired a few months ago. He has the same surname as we have. Now it is said in vedas that we must follow one year suthakam right. Does it applies to his children or all gollakota[our surname] people? Are we eligible to celebrate festivals in this one year or not? Please do clarify my doubt. thanks


  4. These are more of a practice of families.Please do follow your family custom, Ramachander

  5. sir,
    i am nambisan residing in kannur district of kerala. i had my upanayanam. my father being an atheist did not put me through the brahmanical rituals. now after completing my graduation i am feeling incomplete as a brahmin. i even dont know whether i am a rig vedi or other ones. i want to live like a brahmin, not because it is the most superior one, instead it gives u opening to the world of great knowledge. please sir help me out.

    1. Great to see this post. I know many people who have started learning vedas after 18- 20 years. It is just a matter of getting a Guru. Start searching for a learned person who can guide you near your place.
      You already undergone upanayanam, so you are ready for next steps.
      Forget about what happenned till now, concentrate on what needs to be done.
      You can search in the net for stories of bopadeva, satyakama jabaala etc for inspiration.

  6. what is mean by danuta panchami?

  7. My mother died 20days my father come to my home for stay.
    I am the second daughter married having 2 children's.

  8. My son's marriage is fixed before the apthiagam rituals of my father. What are the rules as per brahmin custom - iyers for the masigam to be performed before and after his marriage. Would be obliged for an answer.