Thamboolam (Tambula) is the combined name which is normally given to Betel leaf and Betel nut. It is believed that the goddesses Parvathi, Lakshmi and Saraswathi in live in betel leaf, it was being chewed by males and females for getting a great super feeling. Women also used to do it for making their lip colour red.
It is a custom almost throughout India to offer Thamboola to the guests (athithi_), before they depart to their home Also It was a practice of all people to chew Betelnut and betel leaf on which lime is applied after a heavy meals. Scientists did find that betelnut has carcinogenic properties and slowly this custom is disappearing.
Thamboola in South india
Thamboola is given during many occasions in south India..
1. When unmarried and married ladies(who are not widows ) come to our house , it is a custom to give , Thamboola, Kumkum and round Turmeric roots to them. .
2. Since betel leaf is considered as the personification of truth , on the day when marriage engagement day(nischya THamboolam- ), Betel leaf and Betel nut are exchanged.
3. It is also a practice to offer Thamboola to gods during worship .This is done after food articles are offered to God.
4. Whenever a DAkshina(religious fee) or Dhaana(gift) is given , it is always accompanied by Thamboola
5. It is a practice for ladies of the family to invite other married ladies on festival days or on days when they do a special pooja, and offer them Thamboola.It is also considered as sign of friendship
6. When we go to another home to invite them to a function in our house normally thamboola is offered
7. Thamboola is given to make mother Goddess Happy .It is believed she will take Thamboola from you in some form.She may come even as servant maid, lady selling flowers etc and so being Choosy in giving Thamboola is bad and may cause harm to you
A full and elaborate thamboola in South India consists of
1. Betel leaf , 2.Betel nut , 3 Turmeric and kumkum 4.Comb 5.A small mirror, 6.Bangles, 7.Yellow thread 8.Coconut 9.Banana fruit 10.Flowers 11,Maruthani (mehandhi) 12. Kajal , 13.Dakshinai 14,Ravikkai cloth or Sari (some people add a small piece of Jaggery with it)
a.Among themTurmeric, Kumkum and yellow thread increases the life span of your husband.
b. Comb increases life span of husband
c. Mirror protects health of husband
d. Bangles would increase your peace of mind
e. Coconut to get your sins removed-Dehusked coconut is preferred
f. Banana gets you effect of giving food as charity
g. Flower increases your happiness
h. Mehandhi to prevent skin diseases
i. Kajal for preventing evil eye falling on you
j. Dakshina(fees) to get blessing of Goddess Lakshmi
k. Blouse piece/sari to get effect of Vasthra Dhana-Once upon a time Blouse was useful to all ladies but nowadays with ladies shifting their dress habits , it has become less useful.Instead of Blouse piece/Sari, you can give useful presents to them.
It is not necessary to give all the above things while giving thamboola
If some one invites you for Thamboola , it is believed the one invited should go .Even if they give only betel leaf and betel nut, it should be received with happiness
Rules of giving Thamboola
1.The one who gives THamboola should face the east
2,The one who receives it should sit on a chair or mat facing them\
3.It is normal to give some thing to drink to them, at least water
4,If you are giving coconut, slightly applu turmeric on it , put a kumkum mark , show it to Goddess and give it to them
5.All materials of Thamboola should be kept on a plate and offered
6.If the receiver is older than you, after giving Thamboola, you should also do namaskaram to them
7.In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the thamboolam materials are kept on a muram (winnow) and covered with another Muram and offered.
8.In some cases the Thamboola materials are offered by covering with our Sari and the receiver also does that.
It is definite that Goddess would bless the person who gives and receives Thamboolam.
Thanking Shri P.R.Ramachander for this post.