True Meaning of Vanakkam!

  • 16 Sep 2019

Times are changing, and so are the ways we greet people! Nowadays, the younger generation use words like Hi, Wassup, Hey bro and Hello ji to greet everyone. What happened to the days we said 'Vanakkam' to our parents, teachers, and peers? Is that culture slowly dying away? 

Well, it's sad if it's true. Vanakkam is not just any word, it has a deep meaning and as usual, our ancestors always had a reason behind every practice.

How Do the Indians Say 'Vanakkam'?

According to Tamil culture, vanakkam is said while holding our hands together with the palms touching. Sometimes, a slight head bowing is also paired up with this greeting. We say vanakkam differently depending on the time of the day. 

Morning: Kaalai Vanakkam
Afternoon: Mathiya Vanakkam
Evening: Maalai Vanakkam
Night: Iravu Vanakkam

Vanakkam alone can be said at any time of the day if you find it a little complicated to remember these words.

What exactly does 'Vanakkam' mean? 

The word 'Vanakkam' can be divided into three syllables: Van + ak + am

'Van' means 'vanangu' (worship). 'Ak' represents the alphabet 'ஃ' in Tamil. Visually, it has 3 dots and in this context, it symbolises human eyes along with the third eye (the space in between our eyebrows). It is believed that God resides inside every human being at the third eye.

So, when we say 'Vanakkam', it's not only intended to greet the person but also the God who's residing in the third eye of the person. Such a deep meaning in this word! You can listen to the explanation here:


Why You Should Start Saying Vanakkam?

Greeting everyone with 'Vanakkam' not only shows your respect for fellow human beings but also your devotion to God. Vanakkam is a beautiful Tamil word. The loss of Tamil language usage among the Tamil community is very apparent nowadays. Unless, we teach the younger generation to practice simple Tamil words in their daily lives, in a matter of years, words like 'Vanakkam' might not be in the common usage any longer.

Source: Vallalar TV
Photo Credit: Asia Sinorama, Gifer, Pinterest & Rasa Lukosiute

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