Rituals and customs are an integral part of weddings apart from the mouth-watering delicacies and oh-so-great decorations. Tamil weddings are all about the rituals and customs being performed in its purest and truest sense. With time, weddings have become more of a celebrated event and are losing its original meaning. But not for Tamils! They still hold on to their age-old traditions with utmost dignity. Let’s get a peek into the various Tamil wedding ceremonies and understand what each ritual means to them.
Tamil Brahmin wedding rituals are long and detailed. It starts with matching the horoscopes of the bride and the groom. A priest is called to read out a Lagna Pathrigai to finalize the date, time and venue of the wedding. After this, the groom’s family present the bride with a saree and serve dinner to the bride’s family, who gift them with fruits and sweets. A day before the kalyanam(marriage), the bride’s family arrives at the marriage venue which is decorated beautifully with flowers. The bride’s mother welcomes the groom with a platter of ‘aarthi’ with the traditional instrument ‘nadaswaram’ being played in the background.
The following ceremony is the ‘Viratham’ where both the bride and groom’s family obtain blessings from their respective departed elders. The ritual of sprinkling nine different kinds of grains(Palika) is performed at the same time, for the success of the newlyweds’ life together. The next ritual is called ‘Janavartham and Nischaiyartham’ wherein the groom is escorted to the ‘mandapam’. A ‘lagna Patrika’ is written by the priest in the presence of members of both the families. The groom then commences on a mock pilgrimage ‘Kashi Yatra’. He is dressed in the traditional ‘panchakatcham’, with an umbrella, a fan, a stick and lentils and rice wrapped in a towel which is tied to his shoulder. Just as he is about to leave the ‘mandapam’, the bride’s father pleads with him to marry his daughter instead of going to Kashi. The groom and the bride then garland each other. The bride’s father performs the ritual of ‘Kanyadhanam’, giving away the bride, after which the groom ties the golden necklace known as ‘Thaali’ around the bride’s neck. The couple takes seven sacred steps encircling the holy fire after which they are pronounced as Husband and Wife by the priest.
Tamil Christian wedding rituals are less detailed and are more-or-less like any other Christian wedding. On the wedding day, cousins of the groom arrive at the bride’s place with her wedding dress, jewellery and other pleasantries. The priest blesses the bride’s dress before she wears it. She is received by the groom’s best man at the church after which the wedding mass is performed during which prayers and hymns are chanted by the priest. The Bible is read from both the Old as well as the New Testament, following the Opening Prayer. Once the wedding mass is over, the priest reads out the Opening remarks giving a speech about the significance of marriage. The bride and the groom then utter their wedding vows, promising each other to stay by each other’s side till death does them apart. Their marriage is then glorified by the exchange of wedding rings. This is where the Tamil Christian wedding takes a twist! After the ring ceremony, the groom ties the ‘Thaali’(the golden necklace) around the bride’s neck which has a leaf-shaped pendant with a cross embedded on it. The groom presents the bride with a wedding saree (Matrakodi) after which the newly wedded couple is blessed by the priest and pronounced as Husband and Wife. They hold hands and walk down the aisle to seek blessings from the elders.
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Happy Wedding 🙂 🙂