The tradition in any brahmin family in olden days is that whenever an elderly women passed away as sumangali, the family used to conduct Sumangali Prarthanai every year in remembrance of the elderly women. Nowadays, whenever an important function is planned in any brahmin house, we used to remember our ancestors and celebrate Sumangali Prarthanai.
Pendugal are nothing but Sumangali's. Based on the family's financial status and willingness, we can have 5 pendugal or 7 or 9 pendugal. One Kanya girl should be part of the Pendugal. Other than pendugal we should have 2 pudavaigalam(2 leaves in remembrance of ancestors). The belif is that the ancestors are also participating in the Sumangali Prarthanai.The family women should be part of the pendugal.
The day before the Sumangali Prarthanai...
The day before the Sumangali Prarthanai, we need to take 1 small bowl of gingelly oil along with seekai powder, turmeric powder, kumkum and give it to each pendugal and invite them for sumangali prarthanai. We have to buy 9 yards saree in any color without a mix of black color along with 2.25 meters of pavadai(sithadai) material for Pudavaikalam . We need to wash the 9 yards saree (except the new sarees) which the pendugal(from our home) is going to wear on sumangali prarthanai and dry it in advance.
On the day of Sumangali Prarthanai
The new 9 yards saree and pavadai material should be rinsed in water and dried before being kept in the wooden plank. If there is no place for drying the new wet clothes or if you feel that the time is not enough for drying, its better to keep as new in the wooden plank instead of wet clothes. While keeping saree in the wooden plank, remember to keep its pallu north facing.
Clean the wodden plank and put ezhai kolam and allow it to dry. The place where we need to keep the wooden plank and the place where we are going to place the banana leaves should be cleaned and neatly wiped and put ezhai kolam and allow it to dry.Elderly women in the house should take 2 wooden plank(palagai) and keep the 9 yards saree and pavadai material along with gingelly oil, seeyakai powder(herbal hair wash powder), turmeric powder, kumkum. She has to dip her ring finger and take small quantity of oil and rub it in the corner of the 9 yards saree and pavadai material and then she can apply the oil in head of the other women in the house. The women should get blessings of the elderly women and go for the shower.The banana leaf should be kept east facing in the wooden plank. Banana leaves for pendugal can be kept either east or west facing. Keep the 9 yards saree in the wooden plank having ezhai kolam and on top of it place a mirror, jewel, and flower garland. The same has to be done on pavadai material.
Keep a kuthuvilaku in the center of the 2 holy leaves and light the lamp. Take comb, mirror, turmeric, kumkum, beetle leaves, paaku(areca-nut), mehindhi, nalangu manjal and keep it on top of 9 yards saree and pavadai material. Take dry ginger powder and make it like a ball and keep on top of the saree and pavadai. Keep butter milk, panagam(jaggery juice),1 glass of milk(unboiled), flower, common to both the holy leaves. Keep 5 rupee coins for each of the pendugal on top of the saree.
Keep some loose petals(uthiri pushpam) aside. Take 1 handfull of raw rice and mix it with turmeric powder and make it as akshadhai and keep it aside. Give flowers to all the pendugal. Keep some more flowers to give to pendugal after they eat. Take santhanam, kumkum, beetle leaves, paaku, turmeric and other things ready to offer to the pendugal after they finish their eating.
After we prepare the food, depending upon the raghu kalam, ask the pendugal to put turmeric on their foot and clean their foot. Give flowers to the pendugal. First serve dishes for the holy leaves in front of the saree and pavadai leaves. Serve all the side dishes and finally serve rice. Take little ghee and serve around each banana leaves, we call this as anna sudhi and then ask the pendugal to stand in east facing. Sprinkle sandhanam(sandalwood powder mixed with water) on top of 9 yards saree and pavadai material and do neivedhyam. Then we need to show karpoora arathi and this has to be done by either elderly women in the home or by first daughter-in-law.
Then we need to request all the pendugal to put akshadhai, loose petals on top of the saree and pavadai and do namaskaram. Then ask the pendugal to get ready for food. If we have pregnant women in home, they should not sit as pendugal after 5 months of their pregnancy. Initially we need to take little water and rotate around the holy leaves and then give water to each pendugal uniformly and ask them to rotate around the leaves and start eating.
After all the pendugal finished their food, again take little water and rotate around the holy leaves and then give water to each pendugal and ask them to drink and then they can get up. the banana leaf near the 9 yards saree should be move north side. After the pendugal wash their hands ask them to sit on top of plastic plank and we need to serve butter milk, panagam, dry ginger urundai. Then we need to give kumkum, turmeric, nalangu manjal, mehindhi, beetle leaves and paaku.
Recipes for Sumangali prarthanai:
Please refer to srartham samayal to prepare food for sumangali prarthanai.