Kuthiyottam ritual

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The Kerala State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights has registered a suomoto case in connection with the Kuthiyottam ritual

The commission would examine if the ritual, reportedly involving piercing children’s sides with a hook, violated child rights in any manner


The Kuthiyottam ritual is usually performed every year during the Pongala festival at the AttukalBhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Pongal, which means ‘to boil over’, is a ritual in which women prepare a pudding made from rice, jaggery, coconut and plantains cooked together, and offer it to the goddess

The ritual can only be performed by women

The AttukalPongala festival is the largest congregation of women for a festival in the world

Kuthiyottam ritual involves

Nearly 1,000 young boys undertake a seven-day penance before Pongala day

These boys are said to represent the wounded soldiers of the goddess

The boys have to observe strict discipline and stay inside the temple for seven days

The rigors include sleeping on the floor, strict diet restrictions, and bathing three times a day

They also have to prostrate 1,008 times before the deity

The ritual reportedly involves piercing the child’s side with a small hook and knotting a thread through it to symbolize their bond with the Goddess