Cognitive Knowledge of Rainfall Pattern
The Malayalis of Kollihills are basically agriculturists and hence are more dependent on the rains for their livelihood. By virtue of the long association with the monsoon patterns and understanding of the vagaries of climate, they have been able to classify the rains received every month and the resulting pattern of agriculture and yield for the season.
After the harvest festival, Pongal, in January, the agricultural season begins with the onset of south-west monsoon. The rains normally begin to fall in the Tamil month of Chittirai (April-May) and the same is called Chittirai mahai (rains of Chittirai). The rains of the first fortnight of the month is called Ashwini mazhai (rains of Ashwini) and the rain occurring in the second fortnight of the same month is called Bharani mazhai (rains of Bharani), Ashwini and Bharani being the stars.
The rains of the first fortnight are not preferred because it is believed that it would setback five spells of rains to follow. In the next Tamil month of Vaigasi (May-June), rains are referred to with reference to dates: the rain on the 4th, 5th and the 6th days of the month are said to be very productive. On the other hand, the rains that begin on the 7th or 8th of that month in the season is believed to be unproductive. The understanding is that, if it rains on the 10th of the (third) month of Aani (June-July), it is believed then that paddy would grow even on the rocks (parai ellam nel vilaiyum). Generally, the 8th of Aani is considered to be inauspicious and if it rains on the 8th of any month, it is believed to have negative impact on agriculture. Likewise, for every month, the tribal people have identified dates of rainfall and related beliefs are also spelt out clearly for them by their ancestors.
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