Moi Virundhu: How Covid has killed the buzz around fundraising feasts

The traditional moi virundhu used to be a source of crowdfunding for those fallen on hard times. Image: Eunice Dhivya

In 2017, M Prabhu, a mobile shop owner, made headlines for starting a business not many had thought about -- computerised account-keeping for moi (gifts in cash).

Gifts in cash have always been a 'serious business' in Tamil Nadu and Prabhu was just tapping into the huge market of moi virundhu, crowdfunding events organised over a grand feast during Aadi Masam. Aadi is the fourth month in Tamil Calendar that falls between July and August.

The traditional moi virundhu used to be a source of crowdfunding for those fallen on hard times. A family in distress would feed the community in exchange for gifts in cash by the invitees. This favour is supposed to be returned whenever the opportunity arises in future.

With changing times, the traditional feast only started to grow bigger in scale and the wad of money fatter. The custom evolved into an annual feature when families take turns to organise the feast, and raise money that runs into hundreds of crores.

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