Pre Wedding Rituals
The wedding rituals begin with Panda Kaal Muhurtham, wherein the families of the bride and the groom pray to the Lord for an uninterrupted wedding ceremony. After this, the groom is welcomed with the traditional aarti by the bride's side on the day before marriage. He is offered sweets, sprinkled with rose water and even a coconut is broken to ward off any evil. Next is Vratham, which is a small puja organized before marriage. Following this is Pallikai Thellichal ceremony, as per which grains are sprouted in earthen pots, which are later immersed in a pond to feed the fishes.
The next ritual is Naandi, in which Brahmins are given gifts and sweets to seek their blessings for the wedding alliance. Nicchiyadharatham is the formal engagement ceremony, wherein the bride and the groom exchange rings. After this, the Reading of Lagna Pathirigai takes place, which is formally announcing the wedding and reading out aloud the wedding invitation, to inform everybody about the formalizing of the alliance.
Tamil Wedding Customs
Mangala Snaanam & Kashi Yatra
After applying oil, and a tilak of haldi-kimkum, the bride and the take the mangala snaanam (holy bath) at the respective homes, on the dawn of the wedding day. After having the mangala snaanam, the bridegroom pretends that he is leaving for Kashi and he is no more interested in performing the role of a householder. He stops only when the girl's father persuades him to take the responsibility of his daughter, by marrying her. Then the groom heads his way for the wedding pandal, where the bride and her family receives him. This beautiful custom is known as kashi yatra.
Exchange Of Garlands & Oonjal
After the groom enters the pandal, he exchanges garlands for three times with the bride. This ceremony is full of fun and frolic. Thereafter, they are seated together on a swing. Married women give the newly weds spoonful of milk and banana pieces to eat.
Kanyadaanam & Muhurtham
As the groom reaches the mandapam, the bride's father welcomes his son-in-law. The groom's mother-in-law puts kajal in his eyes. Thereafter, his father-in-law washes his feet, considering him as God. The bride is then seated in her father's lap with a coconut in her hands. Thereafter, the bride and her father offer coconut to the bridegroom. In the meantime, the bride's mother puts water over the coconut. This gesture symbolizes the kanyaadaan of their daughter. The bridegroom's family presents their daughter-in-law a nine-yard sari that she has to wear, when the mangalsutra will be tied around her neck.
Seeking the help of her sister-in-law and aunts, the bride wears the nine-yard sari and enters the mandapam. A sack of paddy is kept on the floor and the bride's father is made to sit on it. The bride is asked to sit on her father's lap. Paddy represents abundance and good fortune. The yoke of a farmer's plough is taken and touched to the forehead of the bride. It is done with the hope that the couple will always walk together. The priest and the relatives touch the Mangalsutra and thereby, bless the newly wedded couple. Thereafter, a sacred yellow thread is handed over to the bridegroom, which he puts around his wife's neck and ties two knots. The third knot is tied by the groom's sister. The three knots symbolize the union of the mind, spirit and body.
The bridegroom takes his wife's right hand in his left hand and leads her around the holy fire for seven times. In every round, she touches her feet to the grindstone hoping that their union will be firm forever.
Post Wedding Rituals
After the wedding, both the families exchange gifts with each other. This is called Sammandhi Mariyathai. After all the wedding ceremonies are over, the bride leaves with her husband for her marital home. Here, she is welcomed by her new family with the traditional aarti. This is known as Grihapravesham. In the evening, the Reception party takes place, which is an informal event. The guests meet the newly wed couple and give them blessings. This is followed by sumptuous dinner.
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