Beliefs about Travel
The itching of the sole of the foot indicates a forth coming
journey. It is considered a good omen if a Garuda is seen hovering
in the sky when one goes about on an important assignment.
The ordinary folk are keen on hearing good and cheerful words as
promise of success. On a person leaving home on a significant mission, it
is auspicious if an unknown voice is heard to
say 'my cow gave abundant milk this morning'. This is called Virichi.
At the commencement of a trip is a good augury
to see flowers, a married woman or a pot full of water. The
sight of a Garuda, a dog or a squirrel crossing from
the traveller's sight to his left indicates success. A cow,
a parrot, a peacock, a fowl, a deer, a tiger, or buffalo, augur will for
the traveller, if they cross from his left to his right.
Umbrella, flag, Chamaram or giant sized whisks
form the temple, sugar-cane, meat, milk,curd, honey, bull, cow, elephant,
prostitute, horse, and fruits are welcome if they come towards the
traveller. It is also lucky to hear the sound of a bell or cannon,
the braying of an ass, the cry of Garuda or the recitation of the scriptures
at the commencement of the journey .
It is the tradition to return home drink a cup of water,
rest for a while and resume the trip, if
one is crossed by a snake, a cat, a monk, a
lonely Brahmin, a barber, a widow or an oil-monger
an unpleasant sound is heard
there is a slip of the leg or accidental fall
the head is hit by the top of the door-frame
or by some other obstruction
some unknown voice says "don't go"
there is unusual or abnormal rain or drizzle .
One should not carry oil and dirty linen
in one's baggage. There are several other restrictions on travel.
It is not customary for husbands to start on important errands,
when the wife is having her menstruation period. Like wise,
there are the soolam rules prohibiting travel in particular
directions on each-week day. One should not go north ward
on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, southward on Thursdays, eastward
on Monday and Saturdays and westward on Sundays and Fridays. Every
rule has an exception and in an emergency one can leave in the late afternoon,
after offering curd to the deity. Owing to the wide observance of
this soolam rule, trains from Madras bound for the south are not crowded
on Thursdays .
Another prohibited period for travel is Rahu Kalam
or in auspicious part of the day. It duration is an hour and a half. It
is unwritten rule not to commence any venture during
this period. People carry with them the Rahu Kalam time table
for ready reference. There are code sentences in English and Tamil
to denote these timings like "Mother saw the father wearing
the turban on Sunday". Mother stands for Monday, saw for Saturday,
father for Friday and so on. The auspicious period occurs
in this order starting at 7.30 on Monday and ending at 6.00
hours on Sunday evening.
Some hill-tribes of Madurai under take journeys
before sunrise on Mondays, after mid-day on Tuesdays, after dusk
on Wednesdays, after breakfast on Thursdays, and journeys after sunrise
on Fridays and Saturdays are avoided.