About Vaniyas

There are various stories about the origin of Vaniyas, the oil pressers. The term Vaniya means the people who extract and trade oil from coconuts.

According to Vyishya Puranam, Vakamuni, the family mentor of vaniyas decided to perform a yaga for the welfare of the people . Lord Brahma presented Vakamuni thousands of dharbas. He created men by pouring water on to the dharba. He then created women from lotus flowers and performed marriage between men and women. Children from these marriages were later known as Vaniyas.

Vaniyas are part of a clan (sub division) of Nairs in the Malabar region. As per the book ,“Nayars of Malabar” vol. III, written by F. Fawcett and published in 1915, “Nayars are divided into various ‘clans’. Vattakkad nayars are one of the clans in Nair community in Malabar. They are further divided into the ‘Undiatuna’, or those who pull (to work the oil machine by hand) and the ‘ Muri-Vechchu-a tune’ or those who tie or fasten bullocks (to rotate the machine to extract oil by means of bullocks and not by hand). In the extreme north of Malabar they are called as Vaniyan oil monger.”

Vaniyans belong to one of the nine illams: Muchilottu Vaniyan, Thachillam Vaniyan, Pallikkara Vaniyan, Narur Vaniyan, Kunjhoth Vaniyan, Valli Vaniyan, Chorilla Vaniyan, Puthukoodu Vaniyan and Chanthamkulangara Vaniyan.