Marapachi Dolls – India

Marapachi Doll Culture

This article and images were submitted to Edge of Humanity Magazine by Blogger Rukmini Krishnan.

Indian culture is all about logical application and scientifically oriented. Each and every traditional method practiced in this beautiful country has its own reasoning as well as logic and is attached with a lot of emotional sentiments too.

Let us take for example these wooden dolls. Called the Marapachi, they symbolize Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi the Indian God and Goddess. Every girl in South India is given a pair of Marapachi Bommais as they are called when she gets married. Tradition has it that these dolls are taken out every year during the time of Navratri the nine day festival popular across the country. They are usually kept as couples dressed in their wedding attire and they also lead the collection of dolls for Golu, the unique South Indian festival which is an integral part of Navratri.

Marapachi Dolls representing Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi

Marapachi Dolls representing Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi

Believed to be special dolls from the Tirupati the Land of Seven Hills, these dolls are made of a special kind of wood with medicinal values. Marapachi is the name of the wood and Bommai means dolls so it means dolls made of Marapachi.

There is another belief which has it that these dolls were given as a gift to the bride and the groom when they get married as toys to play. Child marriage was prevalent in India many years back and these dolls were given to entertain these child brides and bridegrooms.

Marapachi Goddess

Marapachi Goddess

Another belief is that these dolls were dressed in wedding finery to be able to capture the essence of marriage forever. Those were the days when there were no photos so these dolls represented the marriage in the absence of photos.

The tradition is to keep the Marapachis and then have some grains sprouted in front of them during Navratri. Later the sprouted plant is allowed to flow in a river signifying the seeds of success sown and then reaped.

These wooden dolls or Marapachi are a very important aspect of the nine day Indian festival and are an integral part of South Indian traditions. Today it is in our hands to treasure these figurines and not let such timeless traditional values fade away.

This article and images were submitted to Edge of Humanity Magazine by Blogger Rukmini Krishnan.

 

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