Baby names and Folk lullabies

Nature has gifted us with a beautiful baby girl on June 27th. Suddenly my life style, schedules, priorities have all changed upside down. We have slowly started discovering the joys of parenting.

We wanted a tamil name for daughter, that was simple and related to Nature. Though the Internet has many links for baby names, not many appealed to us. In the end, I compiled my own list of tamil baby names, with the help of family and friends. Here is the list of Nature related tamil baby (girl) names:

vanamalar (wild flower)
kurinjimalar (flower of the mountains)
Kavin Malar (Nature’s flower)
Panimalar (Dew covered flower)
Kodimalar (flower on a creeper)
Menmalar (delicate / soft flower)
Thenmalar (honey covered flower)
ezhil malar (Simple and heavenly flower)
venmalar (white flower)

kaadamarselvi (maiden of the forest)
minnal kodi (creeper shaped lightning streak)
Paavai (beautiful lade)

pooazagi (damsel as beautiful as a flower)
Poovizhi (damsel with flower like eyes)

sudar oli (flaming light)
Sudarkodi (flaming creeper)

thaarakai (star)
uthaya tharakai (awakening star)
Vennila (white moon)
Thendral (breeze)
Oviya (portrait)
Natchathra (star)

Hope this would help other parents who are looking for simple tamil names for their daughters.

 One other discovery was the effect of  folk lullabies on babies. My aunt taught me a simple tamil folk lullaby song that miraculously puts my daughter to sleep even when every other attemp fails. So, began my search for tamil folk lullaby or thalaattu songs.

These songs have simple tunes and their lyrics relate to everyday life. They evolved in villages and were improvised by generations of simple rural folk. Here are a few beautiful ones available online:

Traditional folk lullaby (video on U-tube):

 Lullaby song by folk musician, Pushpavanam Kuppuswamy:

**** This post would appeal only to tamil readers. Apologies to my non-tail leaders… Request all my non-tamil readers to share similar links to lullabies or other baby related interesting links in their regional languages.


Harvest festivals are separated world over, yet celebrations and traditions vary. Pongal is a sweet dish prepared by Tamils to offer as thanksgiving to Nature and the Almighty. Our harvest festival is also known as Pongal, named after the sweet dish prepared on this day.

Meaning of the word ‘Pongal’ is overflowing or spilling over. Rice and water are boiled on this day to form the sweet dish, and the water that boils over is what gives the name to this dish and the festival.

The sun which is the source of energy for all living beings on earth is thanked on this day. Pongal is made over an earthen stove under the sun. Face of the sun god is drawn with rice flour. Newly harvested rice, turmeric, sugar cane are used for Pongal preparation.


Pongal celebrations spread over 4 days. First day is bhogi when houses are cleaned and painted. Mud houses in villages are white washed. Front yards are washed with cow dung, and decorated with kolams. Kolams are twisted patterns or designs drawn with rice flour. Red borders are called kaavi. Traditionally, kaavi was clay or red soil mixed with water. Now we get kaavi in shops… which I guess has red colour powder added to it.


Second day is thai pongal, which is the main festival and is usually referred to as “Pongal”.

Third day is maattu pongal. It is a day for celebrating our cattle and livestock. Cattle, in the days of Maharajahs, were the most imporant wealth of the kingdom. Many battles were fought over cattles. Till this day, they are respected and loved in this part of the world. There is a famous saying that no part of a cow ever goes a waste and that Mother Nature created cows to teach man about ‘sharing’.

Cows give us milk. Cattle also function as man’s beast of burden. They are vital to agriculture (though now replaced by tractors). Cow dung mixed with water effective in preventing moquitoes and flies. It is a common sight in south india to see front yards washed with this mixture. Even in death, cows give us their skin to form leather. Thus cows are revered in many East Asian cultures that discourage eating beef.

Next day is kaanum pongal. This is celebrated to emphasise family unions and social ties. People visit relatives, especially their brothers and sisters. ironically, of late, families in cities prefer to enjoy this day on beaches and theme parks.

This is a huge kolam my mom drew on our front yard. Our puppy liked it so much that he could not resist the urge to run over it 🙂