Simply South Wedding

Tamilian Wedding Ceremony

Tamilian weddings are reflective of the community’s simple way of life. These weddings which span a period of two days are held on days other than Saturday and Tuesday. Also considered inauspicious are days that fall between the mid of July to August, mid of September to October and mid of December to January. While Punjabi weddings are known for their dhol and Gujarati weddings for their shehnai, prominent musical instruments at Tamilian weddings are naathaswaram and melam.

Tamilian wedding preparations begin once the match between the bride and groom has been finalized by their families. An auspicious wedding date is selected and the agreement placed on a plate full of bananas, coconuts and betel leaves. Since this occasion marks the beginning of the wedding celebrations, the bride and groom receive gifts by their respective in laws. The bride receives a silk sari while the groom receives clothes or cash.

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The pre-wedding rituals in a Tamilian wedding begin with a ceremony held to bless the couple. Known as the Paalikali Thalippu, this ceremony is conducted by the bride’s family wherein seven clay pots are decorated with kumkum and sandalwood paste and are then filled with curd and nine types of grains.  These grains are watered by seven married ladies and on the following day thrown in the pond. In the hope that fish will feed on the grains that would have sprouted, many consider this an auspicious omen in blessing the couple.

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An unusual but important ritual of Tamilian weddings is a prayer held to bless the bride with the fate of a Sumangali, a lady who passes away before her husband, which is considered quite lucky. During this prayer, a feast is organized for all married women attending the wedding and during this time they are gifted saris.

Once the prayers are over, the bride and groom, in their respective homes begin rituals to beautify themselves for their big day. The bathing ritual, Kalyanaponnu, also includes smearing the couple with scented oils. Post this ritual the bride and groom do not leave their respective homes until the wedding day.

In Tamilian weddings, the groom and his family arrive a day before the wedding. The groom is welcomed by his to-be mother in law with sweets and the sprinkling of rose water. Once the celebrations of the welcoming are over, a Nandi Devata Pooja is performed by five Sumangalis after which the couple receive gifts of fabric. This pooja is followed by the Navgraha Pooja which is known to rule an individual’s destiny. While the groom prepares himself for the marriage the bride takes part in the Vritham ceremony where the holy thread is tied around her wrist. These rituals are completed with the Naandi Shraartham wherein ten Brahmins are invited so the families can seek their blessings. The Brahmins are then honoured with gifts of paan-supari, coconuts, clothes, sweets and flowers.

On the wedding day, the bride and groom bathe in a ceremony known as the Mangalasnanam wherein prayers are performed by the ladies of the house. After this ceremony, they return to their respective homes to get dressed for the wedding ceremony.

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Once dressed, the bride privately performs the Gauri Pooja while the groom pretends he is heading for the Kaasi Yatra. At this point, the bride’s father requests him to stay back and accept his daughter for marriage and they then take the groom to the wedding venue. While the bride’s mother washes the groom’s feet, the bride is brought to the mandap by her maternal uncle.

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At the madap the couple exchange garlands thrice to symbolize their unity. While they are offered milk and bananas, the older women of the house ward off evil spirits by throwing coloured rice balls in all four directions. The bride’s father then hands over his daughter to the groom in the Kanyadaan ritual after which the groom ties a piece of string around his waist and the bride’s wrist. Once this ritual is over, the groom gifts the bride a new sari which she changes into before the ritual of placing the mangalsutra around her neck happens. Once he wears the bride the mangalsutra, the couple take seven steps together and they are now husband and wife.

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To complete the rituals, the couple step out of the venue together to spot the Pole Star and Arundhati Star only after which the bride makes offerings of parched rice grains into the holy fire. The wedding ceremony concludes with the groom placing toe rings on his wife’s right foot and couple then sipping on Panakam, a beverage made specifically for the occasion with jaggery, cardamom, black pepper and water.

Once the wedding is over, the bride’s family gifts the groom with a suitcase, clothes and a diamond ring in a ceremony called the Nagoli Vasthra while the bride marks her entry into her new home with the Grihapravesha ceremony. At the ceremony she is welcomed by an aarti post which she enters the house only after tipping a jar of rice with her feet.

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Once she enters her new home, the Valeyadal ceremony takes place wherein her sister in law gives her a gift after which they all indulge in traditional games. This is followed by the reception hosted by the groom’s family which gives the bride an opportunity to be acquainted with her new family and friends.

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