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posted Nov 18, 2011, 8:37 PM by Anil Mattathikunnel   [ updated Nov 9, 2012, 1:15 PM ]

Knananites are a very distinct ethnic and religious group whose ancestry traces back to our Fore-father ABRAHAM the Patriach of the Old Testament.

God the Almighty saved the 12-tribes of Israel through MOSES from the slavery of Egypt and finally JOSHUA lead them & settled them in Canaan in 1250 BC. 

King David become their King from 1004-965BC). The first Jerusalem Church was built by the son of King David, King Solomon. After his death, in BC 928 the country was split to two. One was called the kingdom of Israel consists of 10-tribes. And the other was the Kingdom of Judea consists of the other 2-tribes (The tribes of Judah & Benjamin). The country of Judea was at the South side, who were the descendents of King David. This tribes had the tradition of marrying within the Tribes only and they never allowed marrying outside their tribes. 

In BC 720 the country of Israel was conquered by Assyrians and in BC 580 Judea was conquered by the Babylonians. The Jerusalem church was destroyed and the people were exiled.

Later King Cyrus of Persia conquered the whole area and he helped the scattered people to come back and settle down. Thus in BC 515 the second Jerusalem Church was built again.

But in BC 332 Alexander the Great conquered the country and made the place as part of Roman Empire. During the rule of Roman Empire, our savior Jesus Christ was born to the descendents of King David. And He was crucified by King Herod the then king of Judea in 30 AD.

Again in AD66 there was big revelation started and in AD70 the second Church of Jerusalem was destroyed. All the people, except those who were in Galilee, were killed and or exiled during the Bar Kokhba battle from AD132 to 135. (The Jewish community in Kochi are those run away from there during AD132 to 135).

However, the people of Galilee, who were from the country of Judea were scattered to Jerusalem, Kana, Bakudash(Bagdad), Ninuva, Uraha(Edessa). 

After about 300 years later, our for-fathers, about 400 people from 7-Tribes & 72-Families, under the leadership of Resp. Knai Thoman migrated to Crangalloore (Kodungalure) on 7th March, 345 AD

From the above history, we can confirm that we are the descendents of King David, King Solomon & the brethren of our Savior Jesus Christ. Again, if we look behind, we can be proud of the truth that we are the descendents of ABRAHAM, ISHAK & YAKOB the selected people of our lord THE YAHOVA. 

The present Knananites are the descendents of the around 400-people from 72-Families of the 7-Clans, migrated to the Mahadaver Pattanam (Kodungalloore) on March 07, 345AD.

The 7-Clans are :

1) Bagi, 2) Belkuth, 3) Hadi, 4) Kujalig, 5) Koja, 6) Mugmuth, & 7) Thegmuth. 
The 7-Tribes represent 7-Sacraments, and the 72-Families represents the 72-disciples of Jesus Christ. 

The Holy Spirit informed Mar Joseph Metran of Edayssa in his sleep that the Malabar Christians are being humiliated and they are badly in need of leaders. Hence he decided to send some of his people to Malabar, headed by the business man Resp. Knai Thoma. The Bishop, Mar Youseph of Uraha, 4-Priests and some Decons joined the group. 

With the blessings of the Patriach of Antioch Mor Yusthedius, the Casolicks Arch Bishop sent them off with gifts and the Holy Bible. The deep hearted departing message became the basic principles of all Knananites, which is MAKALE, KANUMO, HINDUVIL- POYALUM, BANDHANGAL VERPADATHORKANAM EPPOZHUM, PATHUM ORAZHUM ATHE EPPOZHUM CHINTHIPPIN, PADUMARIYATHIRIKAYANM NINGALUM.

The meaning is that, my beloved children, we will not meet again, but keep up your blood relations, even if you are in India, always remember 10-commandments and 7-Sacraments. We the Knananites are still keeping this basic principles and we do hope that we should keep it till infinity. 

When the Migrants reached Kodungalloor, the then King Charaman Perumal, sent his brother Ramavarma Thamuran & his Minister Sri. Vattath Mannan to receive them and and respected them by giving 72-positions and ruling authority over 17-casts. Also Resp. Knai Thoman was named after his own name as KO CHERAKON KNAI THOMA.
Knai Thomman and the 72 families lived in te country as an endogamous community but at the same time helped the local christians to re group and new people to be converted to christianity. Knai Thomman took the initiative to arange the spiritual services for the christian community and established spiritual relationship with the syrian church and subsequently the syrian rite was introduced and practised. He helped the local King in flourishing the busines of the east and became the close friend of the king and the people.
Knani Thoma was buried at the St.Thomas church built by himself at Kodungangaloor. Christianity was flourishing till 15th century. But the St.Thomas Church of Knani Thoma was destroyed by the battle between the King of Kochin and the Samudiri of Kozhikode in 1524. The after effect of this war is the migration of the Knanayates to Udayamperoor, Kaduthuruthy, Kottayam, Chunkam, Kalliserry.

The 72 Privileges that were given to the knanaya community up on their migration are :

1)Arappura (Treasury)2)Ambari (Howdah on an elephant)3)AnkaNam (courtyard)
4)Antholam (palanquin)5)Ammoolam (a kind or 5ax),6)Arrppu (cheers)
7)Alavattam (peocock feather fan)8)Anasavari (elephant riding)9)Uchipoovu (head turban)
10)Kacha (robes)11)Kachappuram (overcoat)12)Kankanam (Bangles)
13)KalthaLa (anklets)14)Kaalchilamb (anklets)15)Kurravai (cheers)
16)Kuthira savaari (hose riding)17)Kuzhal viLi (bugles)18)Kodi (flag)
19)Kaikara (hand ornament)20)KaithalLa (bangles)21)Chelli (a kind of tax)
22)Chenkomb (another tax)23)ChenDa (drum)24)Thanberu (big drum)
25)ThazhakuDa (royal umbrella)26)Nervaal (sword)27)PaTTuchaTTa (silk coat)
28)PaTTurumal (silken tassal)29)PaTTumunD (silk dothi)30)Pakal viLakk (day lamp)
31)PaDippura (out house)32)Pathakkam (necklace)33)PanippuDava (embroidered robes)
34)Paravathani (carpet)35)PavaDa (royal clotheing)36)Pallakk, ((palanquin)
37)Panchavadyam (orchestra)38)Pandhal vithanam (pandal decoration)39)Pathinezhu Parishamel Kathruthwam (control over 17 lower casts)
40)MadhaLam (drum)41)MaNarkolam (platform)42)MuDi (crown)
43)MuDikeezhabharanam (head ornaments)44)Mummolam (tax)45)MathiyaDi (wooden chapels)
46)Rajavadhyam (royal orchestra)47)Rajasamaksham Irippu (sit before the King)48)Rajabhogam (tax)
49)Veena (string instrument)50)Thee ve Tti (fire torch)51)Thookumancham (swinging coat)
52)Thongal (decoration)53)Thoranam (decoration)54)TholvaLa (armpit bangle)
55)Theendalakattal (untouchability)56)Nada viLi (cheers)57)Nayattubhogam (privilage for hunting)
58)Naikudiparisha59)NeDiya KuDa (royal umbrella)60)Nettur peTTi (cloth box)
61)NattikeTTu (turban)62)Veeravadhyam (heroic bungles)63)Veeramadhalam
64)Veera srimkala (royal chain)65)Viri pandal (honour to erect pandal)66)Venchamaram (beautified deer-haired tassal)
67)Sankh (conch)68)Edam piri sankh (conch with left screw)69)Valam piri sankh (conch with right screw)
70)Bhoomi karamozhiv (land-tax evasion)71)Nayatt (hunting)72)Pala-marangal (forest trees)

Various Customs & Traditions of Knanaya Samudayam :

a) Marriage:

• Kaipidutham – Betrothal Ceremony by blessing the hands of the uncles of bride & bridegroom by the priest. 
• Koluvilakku – Lighted oil-lamp placed near the bride and bridegroom for Mylanchi Ideel & Chamtham Charthal. This lamp is also used to welcome the couple after the Wedding. This lamp signifies the presence of Christ, the light of the world. 
• Chamtham Charthal – Purification or beautification of the bridegroom by shaving face & bathing with oils, etc on the eve of the marriage. 
• My-lanchi Ideel – Beautification of the palms and feet of bride by the leaves from “Mylanchi” shrub on the eve of marriage. This signifies the purification of hands and feet from the original sin committed by Adam & Eve. 
• Icha-Pad-Kodukkal – Ceremony of giving sweet pudding to the bride and to the groom in their home after the beautification ceremony. 
• “Beru Mariam” Song – A prayer in praise of Jesus as Son of Mary, sung by the priests & the laymen at the end of the marriage ceremony in the church. 
• NaDa Vili – Cheers (NaDa NaDaaye….NaDa NaDa NaDa) given to the bride & Bridegroom while going home from the church after the marriage (It also serves to Alert the wedding receptionists to complete their final touches). 
• Vazhu Pidutham – The rite of giving God’s blessing to bride and groom by the mother of the bride by placing her hands in the form of a cross on their heads. 
• Kacha Thazhukal – A ceremony using a new piece of cloth given to bride’s relatives as a gift by the groom’s party (Usually to bride’s mother, grandmother & maternal uncle/aunt) 
• Nellum Neerum – Sign of cross done using the blessed palm leaves (from Palm Sunday) wetted in the patty (rice) water, on the forehead of the bride & bridegroom Wishing them God’s blessing and happiness. 
• VeN-PaachoR – A special sweet rice porridge ceremoniously given to the new couples after marriage. 
• Adachu ThuRa – Shutting & opening of the bride’s chamber at the end of the marriage festivities at home. 
• Illa-PaNam – A small amount of money is given to the bride’s party by the groom’s people as offering to the churches. 

b) Funeral:

• Drinking from the blessed Coconut – To show that the sons and the daughters of the dead should live in fraternal communion. 
• Folding the Plantain Leaf for Meals – This reminds that King Cheraman Perumal honored Thomas Kinai and party by giving them two plantain leaves for royal dinner. 
• Thazhukal – Embracing relatives of the dead person in the church after the funeral, to express the condolence. 

c) Other

• Maargam Kali & Patt – Religious dance (ballad) performed in the connection with joyful religious and social functions. The songs contain accounts of the appostolic work by ST.Thomas and the voyage and migration of Thomas Kinai and his group.
• Puraathana PaaTTukaL (Ancient Songs) – Traditional songs sung by the participants and relatives during marriage ceremonies and festivities.