Knanaya Customs


The Seventy-Two Privileges Given To Knananites By The King Cheraman Perumal

  1. ARappura (Treasury)
  2. Ambari(howdah on an elephant)
  3. AnkaNam (courtyard)
  4. Antholam (palanquin)
  5. Ammoolam (a kink of tax)
  6. Arp~ (cheers)
  7. Alavattam (peocock feather fan)
  8. Anasavari (elephant riding)
  9. Uchipoovu (head turban)
  10. Kacha (robes)
  11. Kachappuram (overcoat)
  12. Kankanam (bangles)
  13. KalthaLa (anklets)
  14. Kaalchilamp~ (anklets)
  15. Kuravai (cheers)
  16. Kuthira savaari (horse riding)
  17. Kuzhal viLi (bugles)
  18. Kodi (falg)
  19. Kaikara (hand ornament)
  20. KaithalLa (bangles)
  21. Chelli (a kind of tax)
  22. Chenkomb~ (another tax)
  23. ChenDa (drum)
  24. Thanberu (big drum)
  25. ThazhakuDa (royal umbrella)
  26. NervaaL (sword)
  27. PaTTu chaTTa (silk coat)
  28. PaTTurumal (silken tassal)
  29. PaTTu munD~(silk dothi)
  30. Pakal viLakk~ (day lamp)
  31. PaDippura (out-house)
  32. Pathakkam (necklace)
  33. PanippuDava (embroidered robes)
  34. Paravathani (carpet)
  35. PavaDa (royal clothing)
  36. Pallakk~ (palanquin)
  37. Panchavadyam (orchestra)
  38. Pandal vithanam (pandal decoration)
  39. Pathinezhu parishamel kathruthwam (control over 17 lower casts)
  40. MadhaLam (drum)
  41. MaNarkolam (platform)
  42. MuDi (crown)
  43. MuDikeezhabharanam (head ornaments)
  44. Mammolam (tax)
  45. MethiyaDi (wooden chappels)
  46. Rajavaadhyam (royal orchestra)
  47. Rajasamaksham Irippu (sit before the King)
  48. Rajabhogam (tax)
  49. Veena (string instrument)
  50. Thee veTTi (fire torch)
  51. Thookumancham (swinging coat)
  52. Thongal (decoration)
  53. Thoranam (decoration)
  54. TholvaLa (armpit bangle)
  55. Theendalakattal (untouchability)
  56. Nada viLi (cheers)
  57. Nayattubhogam (privilage for hunting)
  58. Naikudiparisha
  59. NeDiya KuDa (royal umbrella)
  60. Nettur peTTi (cloth box)
  61. NettikeTTu (turban)
  62. Veeravadhyam (heroic bugles)
  63. Veeramadhalam
  64. Veera srimkala (royal chain)
  65. Viri pandal (honour to erect pandal)
  66. Venchamaram (beautified deer-haired tassal)
  67. Sankh~ (conch)
  68. Edam piri sankh~(conch with left screw)
  69. Valam piri sankh~(conch with right screw)
  70. Bhoomi karamozhiv~ (land-tax evasion)
  71. Nayatt~ (hunting)
  72. Pala-marangaL (forest trees)

Knanaya Marriage Customs


Kaipidutham - Betrothal Ceremony by blessing the hands of the uncles of bride and bridegroom by the priest


My-lanchi Ideel - Beautification of the palms and feet of bride by the leaves from "Mylanchi" shrub on the eve of marriage. This signifies the purification of hands and feet from the original sin committed by Adam and Eve.

Antham Charthal (Chantham Charthal) - Purification or beautification of the bridegroom by shaving face and bathing with oils, etc on the eve of marriage.

Icha-Pad~ Kodukkal - Ceremony of giving sweet pudding to the bride and groom in their home after the beautification ceremony.

NaDa Vili - Cheers (NaDa NaDaaye..., NaDa NaDa NaDa) given to the bride and bridegrrom while going home from the church after the marriage (It also serves to alert the wedding receptionists to complete their final touches).

Thali - Thali is a Golden cross made up of 21 minute buds embossed on it distinguishes itself from thalis of other Christians and non-Christians. Using of a thread made up of seven yarns taken from the bridal veil, for the tying of thali.

Nellum Neerum - Sign of cross done using the blessed palm leaves (from Palm Sunday) wetted in the patty (rice) water, on the forehead of the bride and groom wishing them God's blessing and happiness.

Vazhu Pidutham - The rite of giving God's blessing to bride and groom by the mother of bride by placing her hands in the form of a cross on their heads.

Kacha Thazhukal - A ceremony using a new piece of cloth given to bride's relatives as a gift by the groom's party (Usually to bride's mother, grandmother, and maternal uncle/aunt).

Source - knanaya.org.uk

Knanaya History

The Knanaya Christians are descendants of 72 Jeudo-Christian families who migrated from Edessa( or Urfa), the first city state that embraced Christianity, to the Malabar coast in AD 345, under the leadership of a prominent merchant prince Knai Thomman. They consisted of 400 people men, women and children, from various Syriac-Jewish clans. They sailed in three ships headed by a leading ship with the flag of King David. The Syriac-Jews were granted permission to engage in trade and settle down in Kodungallur by the then ruler of Malabar, Cheraman Perumal. The event has been recorded on copper plates given to the community. Before the arrival of the Knanaya people, the early Nasrani people in the Malabar coast included some local converts and largely converted Jewish people who had settled in Kerala during the Babylonian exile and after. They came mostly from the Northern kingdoms of Israel. According to tradition, Knanaya Christians are also known as Southists (Thekkumbhagar in Malayalam) as they hailed from the southern province of Israel known in the Old Testament as the Kingdom of Judah. The rivalry between the northern kingdoms and the Kingdom of Judah since Old Testament times led to the difference among the Nasranis as Northists and Southists. This led the Knanaya people to become an endogamous people within the Nasrani community.