Typical Tamil Weddings

The big fat Indian lives up to its name down south in a Tamil marriage! The Tamils are known for their simple nature and living. That is reflected in the weddings. Nevertheless, there is no compromise on fun and amusement and celebrations during the wedding.  It is in fact a grand affair when relatives from all over the country come down to bless the couple to be engaged in holy matrimony. It is one of the most auspicious occasions in every family. Care is taken that the wedding is not held in a few particular months of the year since they are considered inauspicious.

Pre Wedding rituals

Like every other Indian wedding, the Tamil marriage rituals start from the day the families get together to fix up the alliance of the two individuals. It starts with giving a silk sari to the bride and money to the groom. Thereafter, offerings are made to the Lord by the priest as he proceeds over several rituals to bring good luck to the couple. The evil spirits are driven away and the couple is blessed by one and all. The groom reaches the wedding hall in decorated cars and he is welcomed by the brother of the bride, along with the ritual of aarti!

Wedding day rituals

The wedding starts with a lot of galore and enthusiasm.

Just before the wedding commences, as the bride and groom take their places at the altar, the priest reads out the ceremonies to the guests and also the details about the three generations before the bride and the groom. This is a specialty of a Tamil wedding. Besides, betel nuts, supaari and homemade sweets are common in any Tamil wedding.

The wedding day commences with the Mangala Snaanam and Kashi Yatra. This is marked by the bride and the groom taking a holy bath in the morning. Then the groom pretends to be going to Kashi to get rid of all the responsibilities that come with marriage. To enhance the situation, the groom carries a walking stick and some other necessities to show that he is not inclined towards taking up any household responsibilities. It is right at that point of time, when the father of the bride requests him to marry his daughter and keep her happy. Thereafter the groom proceeds to the wedding alter where he is welcomed by the family of the bride.

Gauri Pooja: After the bride has the holy bath and dresses up, she prays to Gauriamma for the success of her marriage. Thereafter she is escorted to the altar by her maternal uncle.

Pada Pooja: After the groom returns to the altar on the request of the bride’s father, the mother of the bride washes the feet of the groom. ‘Pada’ is literal terms means feet!

Exchange of Garlands: This kick starts the wedding ceremonies in the Tamil community. The couple exchanges garlands thrice and then they are made to sit on a swing where married women of the families offer milk and bananas.

Kanyadaanam: During the wedding ceremony, the groom is considered to be an incarnation of the Lord. So he is treated to full respect and honor. The Kanyadaanam is a ritual popular in most Indian weddings. It signifies the father of the bride giving away his daughter to the groom for him to take care of her, in sickness and health. During this time, the bride sits on her father’s lap. She usually has a coconut in her hand. Thereafter the bride and her father offer the coconut to the groom and during this time, the bride’s mother pours water on the coconut. This signifies that the bride is being given to the family of the groom. At this point, the groom’s family gifts her sari which she is supposed to wear when she wears the mangalsutra. This is a necklace that is worn by married women.

Saptapadi: This culminates into a marriage when the bride and the groom take seven steps around the fire. During this time, the groom holds the right hand of the bride in his left hand. The fire has a lot of significance in most Indian weddings. The seven rounds signify that the Fire God or Agni is kept witness to the holy matrimony. This is one of the most common rituals in all Indian weddings.

This confirms the wedding. Thereafter, the bride offers parched rice to the fire. After this, the groom puts on toe rings on the right feet of the bride. The couple is then made to have a drink called Panaham, which is a traditional Tamil drink. This is considered lucky for the married couple! This is one of the oldest rituals followed.

As the wedding is completed, both the families exchange gifts between themselves. The bride’s father then offers puffed rice to the groom which is thrown in the fire. This is done especially to earn the blessings of the Fire God. Thereafter, the couple seeks the blessings of all the elders in the family so that they have a happy married life. The bride then makes her way to her new home where she is welcomed by her mother-in-law and the others.

The culture of the Tamils is reflected beautifully through their weddings. They are colorful and vibrant.  A Tamil wedding is marked by celebrations and homemade food. The bride and groom, along with the guests present at the weddings, are offered homemade sweets. It is filled with traditions and cultures that have been followed down the generations. They prefer keeping their festivals simple. The Tamil weddings, even though they are kept simple, hold up the culture of the community. Their main focus is the completion of the rituals. The celebrations are a treat to the eye and this will be vouched by anybody who has witnessed a Tamil wedding. Starting from the gifts, to their attires, food and celebrations, there is something extraordinary about Tamil weddings.

Raja Kumar

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