TAMIL WEDDING RITUALS
Tamilians are known for their simplicity and down to earth nature. Just like that, even their weddings are beautifully simple. But that doesn’t mean that they take their rituals lightly. Even though the weddings are not very extravagant, they are lavish when it comes to following traditions.
Panda Kaal Muhurtham
The wedding functions in a Tamil household begin with this ritual. In this, both the families offer their prayers to God for a peaceful, joyous and uninterrupted wedding. This ritual is held a day before the wedding.
Sumangalis are those women who pass away before their husbands. These women are considered lucky and blessed as they died before their husbands. In this ritual, prayers are offered to the Sumangalis so that the bride-to-be also has a fate like theirs. This is a common ritual for many South Indian Brahmin families.
In this, ceremony, nine types of grains along with curd are filled into seven earthen pots decorated with sandalwood. These pots are later immersed in the water to feed the fishes. This they believe would bless the couple.
In this ritual families pray to the souls of their ancestors as ten Brahmins or less are invited by both the families. Brahmins are gifted fruits, coconut, flowers, paan supari, sweets and dhoti angavastram(traditional clothes) and requested to bless the couple.
In this ritual a Ganesh puja is performed by the bride’s family. The groom’s family then gives the bride a new saree, jewellery and gifts. They also apply a kumkum and chandan tilak on her forehead. The bride and the groom then exchange rings in the presence of family members and friends.
In this, the wedding invitation is announced formally in front of everyone assembled by the priest.
Wedding Rituals and Traditions
This ritual takes place on the dawn of the wedding day. Haldi kumkum along with some oil is applied on both the bride and the groom in their respective houses. After this, they are supposed to take a purifying bath and get ready for the wedding.
This one is done by the bride only. After she gets ready for the wedding, she offers prayers to Goddess Gauri who is a symbol of purity.
In this ritual, the groom pretends that he does not want to marry, and is going away to Kashi (holy city) for a holy pilgrimage. He is given a walking stick and a few bare essentials for his journey. At this time, the bride’s father stops him and tries to persuade him towards married life. And, offers his daughter’s hand to him in marriage. The groom is then taken to the mandap.
In this the bride’s mother washes the groom’s feet with water, chandan and kumkum. After that, bride is called into the mandap. (In certain customs it is the mother of the groom who washes his feet).
The bride and the groom exchange flower garlands three times to begin their holy union.
In this ritual, the couple is given some milk and a banana to eat while they are seated on a swing. Rice balls are thrown on them as a way to ward of evil.
Similar to the kanyadan ceremony in the North, the bride’s father is supposed to hand over his daughter to the groom for eternity. And, the groom gives assurance to her parents that he will take care of the bride always.
Here the wedding rituals come to an end, wherein the groom applies kumkum/sindoor on the bride’s hair parting and ties a mangalsutra around her neck.
They then take the sacred seven rounds around the fire in a ritual known as the Saptapadi. There is also another ritual in which the groom holds the left toe of the bride and helps her to tread on a grindstone kept near the ritual fire. This symbolises their holy union, which will be as solid as a rock.
This is the first post-wedding ritual where both families give each other gifts as a token of love and appreciation. The bride then leaves her parental home and sets journey to her new home with her husband.
This is the time when the bride and groom reach the groom’s house. Groom’s mother welcomes the couple by performing a small aarti. It is similar to the Griha Pravesh rituals that happen in the North Indian wedding ceremonies.
In this, the groom’s real sister gifts her sister-in-law with a meaningful present and then the couple sits down to enjoy the wedding games.
After all the functions are over, the last one is the reception party hosted by the groom’s family where guests come and bless the newlywed couple and later head towards a delicious dinner spread.