Moi Virundhu – A Unique Culture Of Offering A Feast


How to become rich? How to become rich in one day? How to become rich without investment? These are the most popular questions among many people all around the world. The majority of the answers for these questions would be, Work Hard, Start investing in shares, or to start up a new business.  But a city in Tamil Nadu has completely broken this notion, and has exposed to the world that a person can become rich by conducting a heavy feast called the “Moi Virundhu”. The term “Moi” refers to the Cash offered by guests as gift during social gatherings like weddings and other family events. “Virundhu” means Feast.

Moi Virunthu is a popular mass – gathering fund-raising feast that takes place in Pudukkottai, Thanjavur and other surrounding regions. It is usually normal to receive or give Moi in Tamil Nadu during weddings or other events. Starting from one rupee to the maximum of five hundred rupees, people offer it as a gift or it is lent to aid the host to pay their debts which they had bought to organize the event. But this process of lending “Moi” has been commercialized between the years 1975 – 1980.

What is the History of Moi Virundhu?

The history of Moi Virundhu dates back to ancient times, where there was an abundant rise of a prosperous community called “Chettiyar”. The word Chettiyar is derived from the word “Chetti” which refers to prosperity and wealth. During the period of the Pandyas and the Cholas, the people of this community successfully established themselves as traders and financiers, which made them to get specialized in money lending and banking. Some legends suggest that their revenue was so high that even the kings received money from them for debt. Noticing their affluence, the other people too was aspired to become wealthy like them. So they conducted social gatherings frequently offering a grand feast to the visitors with an aim to receive a lump sum amount (Moi) that can be used to undertake a business or for an investment. This is how Moi Virundhu commenced.

What are the preparations made to conduct a Moi Virundhu?

Moi Virundhu usually takes place during the Tamil Month of Aani Aadi and Aavani (Mid June to mid-September) these are the period in which Marriage, and other form of special family occasions hardly occur. People utilize this specific time to collect money and use it for the upcoming ceremonies. This event is treated as a grand celebration among the local communities in and around Pudukkottai and Thanjavur. The organizers of the events who are in need of money, usually print fantabulous big invitations that appear like a mini size flex board, inviting more than 2000 members to part take in the feast. They also place numerous huge banners at the core areas of the city, to grab the attention of the people who are not provided with invitation, letting them know about the place, date and the timings.

Where does Moi Virundhu Predominantly take place?

Moi Virundhu usually takes place in villages such as Alangudi, Aranthaangi, Keeranur, Pattukottai, and Orathanaadu which are in the surrounding areas of Pudukkottai and Thanjavur.  These are famous places to witness or part take in Moi Virundhu                                                                            

What happens on the day of Moi Virundhu?

 On the day of Moi Virundhu, both the invited and uninvited members are welcomed by the host at the doorway. There will be payment counters where people handover the amount that they had bought, and later they may proceed to the dining hall for lunch. The grand feast is loaded with Biriyani, Mutton gravy, Mutton fry, and a variety of other delicious dishes that are prepared out of 1000 kilograms of mutton and in some cases even chicken or fish.

The organizers also offer food like Sambar, Rasam and few variety of vegetables along with Appalam and Payaasam to people who are pure vegetarian.

Not only the invited members but also people who are in need of food are also welcomed by the event organisers. People who attend this event usually feel free to eat the food without any hesitation or limitations because they will be provided with dishes more than the required amount. During the feast the way that the host treats the people, symbolizes the royal respect that they have towards each other which intends to strengthen their bond.

How is the money collected during the Moi Virundhu?

The process of collecting money usually happens prior to the feast. Before heading to towards the dining hall, people are guided to a particular place that is allotted exclusively to collect money. Four to five member will be appointed, and will be given a Moi Notu – A separate notebook to enter the details like, the name of the person along with their location and the amount of money that they have paid.

Starting from thousands, going up to lakhs, and the overall amount is collected at the end of the event that reaches even until crores. You will be surprised to know that even the bank employees will be present along with the counting machine at the event, volunteering to take up the work of collecting the money and uploading the details of the person who pays. This event adds a big benefit to banks as there will be a large amount of deposits, that results in huge profit. The money that are collected are then used by the host for various productivity purpose.

Due to technological advancements the host has also made the payment process easy for the people by adding a barcode at the corner of the invitation, enabling people to pay through Gpay or Phonepe

How do people manage expenses in conducting Moi Virundhu?

People who does not have much knowledge about Moi Virundhu, will be curious to know the answer for the question.  Generally it is very hard to feed more than 2000 members with a non veg meal, under a cozy and a comfortable hotel or a building. The organisers also spend so much for decoration, invitation, loud speakers, and also they are obliged to pay the workers, who worked throughout the event. So, in order to escape from the financial burden falling only on a single person, Moi Virundhu is conducted by a group of people consisting of about 10-20 members who belong to the same family.

These members jointly contribute money to conduct the event. People who attend the feast can pay to any member who conduct the event as there will be separate counter for the hosts. But finally majority of the money goes to the person who is really in need of a lump sum amount whereas the other members get an equal share. The huge amount that a person receives is spent for business, investment, and on special occasions like marriage, ear piercing or any other works like construction.

Who can organize Moi Virundhu?

There are no specific criteria for a person to host the event. Organizing this event is not restricted to any specific caste or community. But, according to the people of that area, a person can host a Moi Virundhu if he has got a big circle of friends, relatives or well-known fellow members, so that he can undoubtedly receive a bulky amount. Obviously it is a true statement that are mandatorily to be considered. There are interviews of few people who had spent a lot of money to host a grant event but only few people turned up to attend it, which brought only little amount to the organizer resulting in personal loss. Secondly, a host has to have a prior knowledge of a person whom he is about to invite, regarding whether he will pay a reasonable amount or not. But basically people wish to invite only their close circle and members who belong to the same village.

Is there any rule to be followed during Moi Virundhu?

Yes, there are specific rules that are to be followed in Moi Virundhu, and the most important rule is that, one must conduct Moi Virundhu only once in five years and not frequently. This is to avoid the huge income of money reaching only a single person. Second rule is something strange. People who is attending the Moi Virundhu, has to pay the amount before 12 pm. If it is paid post 12 noon, then the amount paid is titled as “Pin Varavu” which refers to the late payment of money. This late payment is usually considered as an insult. So the attendees barge into the payment counters before or within the stipulated time. The third rule is based on the gratitude that people express towards each other. When a guest pays a particular amount to the host, the host must repay a double amount of money when the guest conducts the event after five years.  In case, if doubling of the money is not possible, one can pay the exact amount that was paid by the guest. Majority of the people usually wish to pay by doubling the amount because, they consider the exact or low amount of payment as a prestige issue.

What is the significance of Moi Virundhu?

Moi Virundhu is not always about collecting or spending money, it is about creating a strong community bond. Good events are planned to happen but bad events may happen unexpectedly. At such times, the relatives will do their best to help the bereaved so that they don’t get affected from shortage of money. The guest pays the amount that he wishes and the receiver will do what he can if there is such grief in the home of the giver. This is the way by which the Moi Virundhu started. It is more like an interest free loan that people give and receive between them. This event also symbolizes unity as people eat together, invest together and grow together. People who are involved in conducting and attending Moi Virundhu are obliged to each other because everybody owe their success to everyone.

To conclude Moi Virundhu is a special event where a person’s stomach, heart and pockets fill with happiness and joy simultaneously.

Why should you visit Moi Virundhu?

Well, you should definitely consider visiting the Moi Virundhu especially to taste the variety of lip-smacking dishes prepared for the feast. Be a part of a vibrant atmosphere which is filled with love, laughter and celebration that happens when all people meet up with each other. You may be a stranger to this event but you will leave the hall creating a strong bond with so many people as none will leave you alienated even if you don’t belong to their community.

Witness how people enhance each other’s lifestyle by lending money and competing with each other. You will able to see this kind of rare helping tendencies and bonding between the people only during the Moi Virundhu. Come lonely as a visitor to witness the event and go home creating a family for you at Pudukkottai.

Come and explore the rural areas of Tamil Nadu and immerse yourself in its rich tradition, impeccable culture, and strong family values. It will surely be a tour of unforgettable memories.

Have you ever heard about this and visited this event before? Share your experience with us.

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