❧ Kodimara Ghoshayathra ❧
The hoisting of the temple flag (Thrikkodi) atop the flagstaff (Kodimaram) heralds the festival. The Kodimaram for the thrikodiyettu (flag hoisting ceremony) is made of an Areca palm (Areca catechu). Every year the Areca palm is identified from different locations. The tree had to be the right one- in other words blemish-less.
Before cutting the tree, the priest performs customary vriksha puja, seeking permission of the tree to axe it. Permission is also sought from the birds and all living things that had made the tree their habitat.
The tree would be cut with utmost care so that it would not touch the ground. The young men of the village patiently wait to support the tree in their hands before it touches the earth. Once the tree safely reaches their hands the kodimara ghoshayathra (procession) starts. The youth carry the tree with much devotion, happiness and excitement. They carefully and rhythmically toss the tree into air.
The whole atmosphere changes once it reaches the temple premises, since it is the prelude of the village’s much awaited Avittom Thirunal Mahotsavam, the annual 10 day temple festival. The tree is made into uniform girth from top to bottom. The carpenter and the priest perform kodimara puja and the tree now is metamorphosed to become holy flagstaff for the holy flag. The kodiyettam or hoisting of the flag is performed on the first day of Avittom Thirunal Maholsavam in an auspicious time of the day.