Aranjanam or Araijan Kayiru (Malayalam: അരഞ്ഞാണം Tamil:அரைஞான் கயிறு) is a girdle-like ornament tied around the waist of infants and children. Also called 'Araijan Kodi'. It is made of gold, silver or thick thread. The primary purpose is to measure the healthy growth of an infant by the increase of the waistline. Aranjanam can also fasten the cloth on the waist, similar to women using it to secure the folds of a sari. It is possible that some parents also believe that it will safeguard against evil spirits. Although in India, most women and many men continue to wear them as adults as well.
Ancient Tamil people used it, mentioned in Tolkappiyam, Sangam literature describes the usage of Araijan by the words வெண்ஞான் (Venjan - made of silver) and பொன்ஞான் (Ponjan - made of gold). A village in Tamil Nadu was named after it called 'Venjan Kondaan' meaning one who wore Silver Araijan.
An Aranjanam is given to babies of both genders and all religious affiliations, particularly in south India, on the 28th day after the baby's birth, as part of a ceremony called Irupathettu in which the baby is given its name, its first jewellery, eye makeup and a meal of sweet porridge.
Pseudo-scientific Reason Apart from Gold / Silver the rope has a "Thayathu" a small capsule made of gold or silver to hold the umbilical chord dried and stored in sealed format inside it. In modern day science we call these cells as stem cells which can help in curing many disease and tissue replacements as those cells are available only during child birth and preserved for a fee in modern hospitals.
This is pseudo science because modern science has determined that these cells need to be preserved in their “alive” and “able to multiply” state in order to be used in stem cell therapy. Dried and powdered cells are of no medicinal value and are a placebo along the lines of rhinos horns which are believed to have medicinal value elsewhere.
In Kerala, This ceremony is performed on the 28th day after birth of the child, as this is the first time the nakshatram (star) of the child repeats according to the Malayalam calendar. During the ceremony, charadu (thread), one in black cotton and the other a chain in gold are intertwined and tied around the waist of the child - this is usually done by the father of the child. This thread is called 'Aranjanam'. The child's eyes are lined with mayye or kanmashi (Kohl). A black spot is placed on one cheek or asymmetrically on the forehead, to ward off the evil eyes. The father whispers the chosen Hindu name in the child's right ear three times while the left ear is covered with a betel leaf. This is then repeated with the left ear. A mixture of ghee (melted and clarified butter) and honey is given to the infant as a base for its various foods in the future.
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