Unlike other South Indian weddings, Tamil weddings are more focused on being simple yet graceful. Most Tamilians so greatly respect the ancestral culture that none of these traditions are modified with today’s modern ways. However, weddings can still be performed at a holiday destination if the bride and groom are looking forward to a more photogenic place. They may not be extravagant like Punjabi weddings or pomp-filled like Telugu weddings because Tamil matrimony is simple, beautiful and lavish in its own ways.
Panda Kaal Muhurtham
This is a small ceremony performed at the bride and groom’s respective homes before the commencement of the marriage. This is done by offering prayers to the Almighty for a peaceful and uninterrupted wedding. In a few cases, the bride and groom would have exchanged rings as an engagement, with the blessings of both families before the Panda Kaal Muhurtham.
As the name suggests, it is the prayer of a woman who wants to be blessed with a long married life. The bride seeks the blessings of married women wearing famous Madisar.
This is a ritual in which sandalwood-decorated pots filled with nine types of grains mixed in curd are offered to the fishes. According to the rituals, this is considered to be very auspicious for the couple’s future together.
In this ritual, the ancestors of both families are remembered. They also invite the holy priests for a feast and offer them supari, fruits, coconut, sweets, paan and also angavastram. The priests bless the couple and wish them a happy married life.
By now in any family, the engagement is done and the first wedding invitation is printed. This is the ceremony where the date is officially announced to all the relatives. However, the very first invitation is sent to the temple.
Haldi, Kumkum and essential oils are applied to the bride and groom before the holy bath. This is a sign that they are preparing themselves for the union of holy Tamil matrimony.
On the wedding day, after the holy bath, the bride prays to Goddess Gauri who represents the symbol of purity.
Known for the funny side of the rituals, the groom literally carries an umbrella, a walking stick, and few essentials and pretends like he does not want to get married. The bride’s father is supposed to go after him and convince him to come back.
The bride’s mother then washes the feet of the groom with water, kumkum, and Chandan. After all the ceremonies, the bride and groom are now ready to be wed at the mandap.
Oonjal (Swing Ceremony)
Married women in the family offer milk and banana to the bride and groom while they are seated on a swing. Balls of rice are also thrown around them to ward off any evil present around.
This is the most heart-touching ceremony, where the bride’s father gives his daughter away to the groom for eternity. In return, the groom promises his father in law that he will take care of her always.
Finally, the groom ties the knot by tying the mangalsutra or thaali around the bride’s neck. He also applies sindoor or red kumkum on her forehead signifying that she is now taken.
They newly-wed bride and groom now take seven rounds around the sacred fire. After this ritual, they are legally husband and wife.
Though the major ceremonies remain the same, there might be additional Tamil matrimony customs in a few castes. For example, as a part of the Nadar matrimony customs, there’s a unique ceremony held to melt gold for making the thali. After the holy Tamil matrimony is completed, rituals like bidding goodbye of the bride to her entire family (Sammandhi Maryathai), the function of celebrating her entry into the groom’s home (Grihapravesham) and exchange of gifts (Valeyadal) take place with a tinge of fun.
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