Tamil Marriage – Rituals and Customs
Tamil weddings are typically a conservative and very traditional affair. Each Tamil community have different custom of wedding, though the main events in the wedding do not change much. Weddings these days are becoming brief and tamil matrimony is no exception. The Vedic customs are still followed in most of the tamil weddings. Marriage halls have taken over homes and guest list shortened. Weddings takes place the whole year except for the months of aashad, bhadrapad and shunya according to hindu calendar. Apartments and work trends have changed the equation of arranged marriage in tamil society, still arranged marriage is taking its own shape.
The tamil matrimonial event is set off with ponnu parkal or the bride seeing ceremony in the bride’s place. The would be groom is served with sojji and bajji which is a mitta namkeen combination of the Indian bajjis. If the boy likes the girl then the muhurtham is set for the marriage.
Before the wedding is the Nishchayadhartham or engagement. The bride and groom exchange gold rings and the groom has to bring a seer consisting of fruits, dry fruits, coconuts, saree, blouse, bangles, mirror and other cosmetics for the bride. The bride dresses up in the clothes brought by the groom and the ceremony goes off in a simple manner. The elders decide the various options for the wedding like the gold to be given to the groom and other seer to be given to the in laws house.
The vivaah ceremony begins the previous day in the Kalyana Mantap in earlier days it was held in the bride’s house. There is a reception for the family and friends of the bride and the groom. Some families even arrange music concerts of big names in the music industry. Sometimes the Nischayadhartham is held along with the reception.
Marriage rituals begin very early in the morning before the actual muhurtham. The bride and the groom have to take ennai nalangu which is the traditional oil bath for both before the wedding. They need to give off the clothes worn before the ceremony to the dhobi. The bride and the groom dress up in finery.
Bride is first taken to the Mantap where the agni is lit and the pandit chants mantras. The bride is then performs patha poojai for her parents. She is given dress from the groom’s house to wear for the wedding. Once the bride is taken away to be dressed up the groom is brought to the mantap near the holy pyre after being given a patha pooja by the bride’s brother.
Tamil Brahmin matrimonial have an elaborate custom where the groom pretends to go away to take sanyasam. Bride’s brother persuades him to break his sanyasam and would give his sister’s hand in marriage. He is given an umbrella and new slippers by the brides brother. Groom then performs path pooja for his parents. The bride is brought decked up in jewellery and new clothes from the grooms house. Then the groom ties the thali tied on a yellow thread or thread dipped in turmeric to the bride’s neck. There are three knots the thali which symbolizes the brides bonding to her husband, her new family and the relatives. The groom ties only the groom’s sister ties the first knot, the rest of the knots.
After the marriage, ceremony is the Nagavalli where the bride and the groom have to play some games depicting their family life. The young girls in the family enjoy these ceremonies thoroughly. The girl is then taken to the groom’s house at an auspicious time. Before entering her new house an aarti is taken to ward of the evils.
In her new home, the girl is asked to light the lamp in the pooja room to mark the beginning of a new life.