21/07/2024

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Tamil Marriages – A Simple & Beautiful Affair

Tamil Marriages – A Simple & Beautiful Affair

Tamils believe in simple living and high thinking and their marriages are also a simple affair. Tamil weddings are usually attended by near and dear ones. Hence their weddings are not necessarily extravagant affairs. Tamils consider matrimony very auspicious, so, they are very cautious at every step. Tamil marriages involve many rituals and customs like all other Indian marriages and matrimonials. The date for the wedding is usually fixed after consulting the Hindu calendar. According to the Tamil calendar, the months of Aashad (July 15th to August 15th), Bhadrapad (September 15th to October 15th) and Shunya (December 15th to January 15th) are considered inauspicious for weddings and hence, Tamilian weddings are not held in these months.

Before the wedding celebrations:

Panda Kaal Muhurtham

To ensure that the wedding preparations and wedding pass off successfully, it is customary to invoke the blessings of the family deity. The family of the bride and the groom pray to the deity who is personified by a bamboo pole. More often than not, this ritual is performed a day before the wedding.

Receiving the Groom

When the groom and his family visit the wedding hall a day before the marriage, they are welcomed with a tray containing offerings of flowers, paan supari, fruits and mishri. Rose water is sprinkled on the groom. A senior female member of the Tamil bride’s family performs aarti and welcomes them. To ward off evil spirits, it is customary to break a coconut to the ground.

Pallikai Thellichal

This ceremony is also performed a day before the wedding. In this, clay pots are filled with grains. Married women from the bride’s and groom’s side sprinkle water on the pots filled with nine different varieties of grain. On the wedding day when the grains sprout, these pots are immersed in a pond so that the fish in the pond may feed on the grains and give their blessings the newly-weds.

Naandi

During this ceremony, some Brahmins are invited to represent the souls of the ancestors of the bride and the groom. They are presented some sweets and gifts and the families seek their blessings before beginning the marriage proceedings.

Jaanavaasam

These days, people hardly practise this custom. The groom is escorted to the wedding venue by a large and joyous procession of family and friends. Professional musicians are invited to accompany the procession and to play traditional wedding music. At times there are also fireworks to celebrate the occasion. Then the groom is welcomed in the wedding hall after the girl’s brother garlands and receives him.

Nicchiyadharatham

In the presence of the officiating priest, the bride’s parents perform Ganesh Pooja. The bride is also present during the ceremony. She is gifted with a new sari by her would be in laws. A garland of flowers is tied around her waist and aarti is also performed for her.

Reading of Lagna Pathirigai

The priest formally reads out the wedding invitation. Details on three generations of the boy and the girl and other information on the muhurtam is announced. This is followed by an elaborate dinner.

Wedding rituals and ceremonies:

Mangala Snaanam

The mangala snaanam is the auspicious bath that the bride and groom must have in their respective homes on the dawn of their wedding day. Before the bath they are anointed with some oil and a tilak of haldi-kumkum.

Kashi Yatra

It is a very dramatic ritual and adds humor to the occasion. After the mangala snaanam, the groom pretends to leave for Kashi to devote himself to God and a life of prayer. He enacts as if he is not interested in becoming a householder. Then the girl’s father intervenes and requests him to accept his daughter as his Jeevansathi (life partner).The groom changes his mind and returns to the pandal where he is received by the bride.

Exchange of Garlands

This ceremony is full of excitement. The bride and the groom exchange garlands thrice and are teased by their relatives. For instance, they pull the girl away when the boy reaches forward to be garlanded by her, and vice versa. The bride and the groom’s uncles have to lift them.

Kanyadaanam

The groom is welcomed by bride’s father to the mandapam (place where the wedding rituals are carried out). The bride’s mother applies kajal in the groom’s eyes and father washes his feet. Through this gesture the father conveys that that the boy is a personification of Lord Vishnu and believes that he will take care of his daughter. The father and bride offer the coconut to the groom while the bride’s mother pours water over the coconut which symbolises the ‘giving away of their daughter.’ Then the groom’s parents gift the bride a nine-yard sari and a blouse to be worn for next moment, the auspicious occasion of tying the mangasultra

Muhurtum

The priest and relatives bless the mangalsutra or sacred thread and then the groom ties it around the neck of his bride with two knots. His sister ties the third knot much to the jubilation of everyone accompanied by the drums of the melam. These three knots symbolise the marriage of the mind, spirit and body.

Saptapadi

The groom takes the right hand of the bride in his left hand and leads her around the sacred fire seven times. Each round is begun by the bride only after touching the grinding stone. This signifies her hope of a steadfast and forever union.