The Malyalees of Kerala are known for their simplicity and quite naturally when it comes to their wedding, the rituals are also quite simple. Most of the marriage takes place during the Malyalee month of Chingam which is considered to be auspicious. The Malyalee wedding is without any elaborate religious rituals.
Malyalees are quite particular regarding the direction of the room where the marriage function is going to take place so it is definitely going to be a northwestern room.
Though a Malyalee marriage does not have too many rituals but there is strong connection to spirituality. There is hardly any show or pomp or grandeur in such marriages
Some of the pre marriage rituals are:
In this particular ritual the horoscopes of both the girl and the boy is matched and then a date is being finalized for the marriage. The help of an astrologer or priest are taken for deciding on the date. In some families there is an exchange of letters between two families regarding the probable date of the wedding. In the case of Nair’s people from both sides of the bride and the grooms family will exchange letters.
In the presence of family members, friends and family the marriage date is announced though the would-be bride and the groom are not present.
The traditional feast
It is at the bride’s home that that the feast is being served and the groom’s family is also being invited for the feast and she eats the five course vegetarian meal along with her family facing the east direction.
On the day of the marriage itself there are also a set of rituals that needs to be followed. After the feast the bride and the groom takes the blessings from their family members.
On the day so the wedding both the groom and the bride gets ready for the marriage .the bride wears a set sari and she wears a lot of golden jewelry and her hair is decorated with jasmine flowers as per the custom . The groom is dressed in traditional dhoti which is known as mundu which is teamed with an off white silk shirt. The groom also wears gold bracelets, rings and chains.
Rituals on the day of the marriage
The bride and the groom seek the blessings of the elders by giving dakshina which comprises of betel leaf, ripe arecanut and a coin. Both the bride and the groom touch the elder’s feet and seek their blessings.
After the aarti near the gate the groom is escorted inside to the mandap. There are two rows of girls. One girl carries the sacred lamp and another girl holds the ashtamangalyam which is eight auspicious articles. Girls also carry flowers, turmeric and rice platter, the mandap is decorated with flowers, banana stalks and fabric and flowers. The bride is escorted to the mandap with the sound of thenadaswarams. Once the marriage rituals get over the bride wears the manthrakodi which is the cloth that is gifted from the groom’s side. The groom also hands over a thali comprising of cloth and betel nuts which might signify that he will provide for her. Once the bride enters the groom’s home, she is gifted with a jewelry set by the groom’s mother as a token of love.
When the groom reaches the bride’s house he is being ushered inside by the bride’s father. There is a ritual o washing the feet of the groom by the bride’s father. Once this gets over, the groom hands over a white sari to the bride’s father which the bride should wear for the wedding.
Veli or Nuptial Ceremony
Right after Madhuparkam, the Nuptial ceremony takes place. The groom and the bride encircle the mandapam and sit beside each other. Garlands are being exchanged There is a sindoor dan ceremony where the groom applies vermillion on the bride and the bride applies sandal to the groom’s forehead. Once the rituals are complete the newly married couple seeks the blessings of the elders and then they enjoy a traditional Kerala meal and touch the feet of elders.
A sacred fire is being lit and the bride and the groom goes around the sacred fire and once taking rounds around the fire is complete the groom ties a yellow thread around the bride’s neck . After the thread tying ceremony the Kanyadannam/ Penkoda ceremony takes place where the bride’s father gives away the hand of the daughter to the groom.
Finally, once the rituals gets over both the bride and the groom touch each other parents to seek their blessings.
After the rituals the bride offers puffed rice to the ceremonial fire and the groom places his feet on the grinding stone which symbolizes a new beginning and breaking away from old ties
Although these days the weddings are being held in hotels and banquet halls but it is important that the Malyalee weddings need to execute according to the rituals and therefore the rituals conducted in a temple. Once the rituals are done with there is a lavish reception which is organized in a banquet hall of a hotel.
Once the wedding gets over its finally time for the bride to enter the groom’s family which is known as grihapravesh.
The bride enters the groom’s house and she is welcomed inside by lighting lamps known as kuvivep. When the bride enters the groom’s house the sister in law welcomes the bride to her new house with aarti and the newly wedded couple is given sweet mixture of banana and milk by family members from the groom’s family.
A traditional feast is also organized by the groom’s family. The bride is being introduced to all her family member and relatives. All the guests welcome and bless the bride and enjoy the traditional spread.