Karkidaka Vavu (Malayalam: കർക്കിടക വാവ്) or ‘Karkidaka Vavu Bali’ is the name for the rituals performed by the Hindus in the state of Kerala for their deceased ancestors. This day is also known as ‘Vavu Bali’ and is held in the month of ‘Karkidakam’ in the Malayalam calendar. If one follows the English calendar, the date falls in the month of July to August.

Karkidaka Vavu 2022 was on July 28, Thursday

Karkidaka Vavu Image Source: IANS

People perform rituals at the Payyambalam beach on the occasion of Karkidaka Vavu Bali in Kannur, Kerala

The ceremonies for deceased grandparents, parents, siblings, children and relatives are performed on ‘Karutavavu’ (new moon) in the month of Karkidaka. The ‘Shraddham’ rituals must be done on river banks or seashore. In Kerala, the ‘Shraddh’ rituals done for the soul of the dead is known as ‘Bali’ and the new moon day or ‘Amavasi’ is referred as ‘Vavu’, hence the name ‘Vavu Bali’.

The ‘Bali’ rite for the departed ancestors is also observed on the ‘Nakshatra’ or star the person died on. But it is believed that ‘Bali’ held on ‘Karutavavu’ (no moon day) in the month of ‘Karkidakam’ is more auspicious and souls of the dead are deeasily pacified on this day. Karkidaka Vavu Bali is analogous to performing ‘Mahalaya Shraddh Paksha’ or ‘Pitru Paksha Shraddh’ in other states of India.

Rituals during Karkidaka Vavu:

On the auspicious day of Karkidaka Vavu, devotees in large numbers perform the ‘Bali Tharpanam’ ritual in order to pay homage to their departed ancestors. The rituals are held in several Holy rivers, temples and seashores across Kerala. The devotees get up early on this day and finish their morning routine to reach the ‘Bali Tharpanam’ centres. All the major temples like ‘Shangumugham Temple’, ‘Thiruvaloom Sree Parausurama Temple’ and ‘Varkala Papanasam Beach’ to name a few, remain crowded on this day and special arrangements are made by State authorities to ensure that the rituals are held peacefully.

The person performing the ‘Bali’ ritual also observes a fast on this day and is allowed to eat only one meal comprising of rice.The other members in the family can eat rice preparations thrice and eating non-vegetarian food is strictly prohibited on Karkidaka Vavu. In most of the households in Kerala, a special preparation of steamed rice known as ‘Vavu ada’ is prepared. Karkidaka Vavu is performed under the supervision of known priest or elderly person. Some of the important accompaniments needed to perform the ‘Bali’ ritual includes Darbha (grass), ellu (sesame seeds), pavithram (ring formed from grass), cookedrice, banana leaves and water.

Bali rituals and Puja Image Source: Prokerala.com

People offering bali tharpanam to their deceased family members

Important Timings On Karkidaka Vavu

SunriseJuly 28, 2022 5:59 AM
SunsetJuly 28, 2022 7:07 PM
Amavasya Tithi BeginsJuly 27, 2022 9:12 PM
Amavasya Tithi EndsJuly 28, 2022 11:25 PM
Place : Ujjain [ India ] See More

Significance of Karkidaka Vavu:

The day of Karkidaka Vavu is very sacred for Hindus residing in Kerala. The ‘Bali’ ritual is held in the ‘Karkidakam’ month as the ‘Dakshinayana’ period starts from this month of the Malayalam calendar. It is believed to be the night of the Gods or ‘Devas’. By observing the Karkidaka Vavu rituals Hindu devotees offer ‘moksha’ or salvation to their deceased ancestors and they in turn shower blessings on their family members on the Earth.

On the day of Karkidaka Vavu, in Tamil Nadu, Hindus observe the ‘Aadi Amavasi’ rites for their departed ancestors. Thousands of Hindu devotees take a holy dip in the sacred rivers or main ‘Teerthams’ on the day of Karkidaka Vavu. Among the Malayalam people it is believed that by sincerely observing the ‘Bali Tharpanam’ will give them prosperity and good fortune.

Karkidaka Vavu festival dates between 2019 & 2029

2019Wednesday, 31st of July
2020Monday, 20th of July
2021Sunday, 8th of August
2022Thursday, 28th of July
2023Tuesday, 15th of August
2024Sunday, 4th of August
2025Thursday, 24th of July
2026Wednesday, 12th of August
2027Monday, 2nd of August
2028Friday, 21st of July
2029Thursday, 9th of August

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