Aranjanam or Araijan Kayiru is a girdle-like ornament tied around the waist of infants and children. Also called ‘Araijan Kodi’. It is made of gold, silver or thick thread. The primary purpose is to measure the healthy growth of an infant by the increase of the waistline. Aranjanam can also fasten the cloth on the waist, similar to women using it to secure the folds of a sari. It is possible that some parents also believe that it will safeguard against evil spirits. Although in India, most women and many men continue to wear them as adults as well.
Ancient Tamil people used it, mentioned in Tolkappiyam, Sangam literature describes the usage of Araijan by the words வெண்ஞான் (Venjanmade of silver) and பொன்ஞான் (Ponjanmade of gold). A village in Tamil Nadu was named after it called ‘Venjan Kondaan’ meaning one who wore Silver Araijan.
Thin ornamental gold or silver chain worn around the midriff, under clothing. In India, it is worn by many women and men, and most children and babies.
An Aranjanam is given to babies of both genders and all religious affiliations, particularly in south India, on the 28th day after the baby’s birth, as part of a ceremony called Irupathettu in which the baby is given its name, its first jewellery, eye makeup and a meal of sweet porridge.
In Kerala, This ceremony is performed on the 28th day after birth of the child, as this is the first time the nakshatram (star) of the child repeats according to the Malayalam calendar. During the ceremony, charadu (thread), one in black cotton and the other a chain in gold are intertwined and tied around the waist of the childthis is usually done by the father of the child. This thread is called ‘Aranjanam’. The child’s eyes are lined with mayye or kanmashi (Kohl). A black spot is placed on one cheek or asymmetrically on the forehead, to ward off the evil eyes. The father whispers the chosen Hindu name in the child’s right ear three times while the left ear is covered with a betel leaf. This is then repeated with the left ear. A mixture of ghee (melted and clarified butter) and honey is given to the infant as a base for its various foods in the future.