The Tao of a Tamil Brahmin Wedding

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                                The Traditions of a Tamil Brahmin Wedding

Different religions follow different traditions to solemnise a marriage. However, the core purpose remains the same which is to celebrate the sacred union of a man and a woman. Here is a look into the traditions of a Tamil Brahmin wedding.

The Tamil Brahmin weddings falls into the list of most vibrant and colourful weddings in India. These weddings comprises of lots of traditions and rituals that are carried out for 3 to 5 days. A typical Tamil Brahmin wedding begins with Pandha Kaal Muhurtham and ends with Gravapravesham.

Before an alliance is fixed between a boy and a girl, their nakshatram (horoscopes) are matched in order check compatability between them. After a successful match, the marriage is finalised. Here is the list of different rituals that forms the very heart of a Tamil Brahmin wedding.

Traditions of Tamil Brahmin Wedding

Pre-Wedding Rituals

  • Pandha Kaal Muhurtham

This is the very first ritual of a Traditional Tamil Brahmin wedding. In this ritual, a tall bamboo stick is placed outside the house by the elders of the family. This is done to let other people know that marriage celebrations are happening in the house. Also, this is done to invoke the family god so that all wedding rituals can be completed without any hassles.

  • Vratham or Pallikai Thellichal

In this ritual, families of both the bride as well as the groomkeep a fast for the prosperity of their children. Also, on this day 9 different types of are mixed together along with the curd. This mixture is then filled into 7 earthen pots. These pots are decorated with sandalwood. The grains are allowed to sprout for a day or twoand then immersed in water in order to feed the fishes.This ritual is done for the prosperity of the bride and the groom.

  • Nandi Sharardham

In this ritual, the families of both the bride and the groom pray to their ancestors’ souls. A feast is organised by both the families in which 10 or less number of Brahmins are invited. Authentic South Indian food is served to them which includes fruits, sweets, coconuts etc. They are also presented with veshti angavastram and flowers.

  • Nichayathrtham

This ritual is similar to the engagement ceremony that happens in North Indian weddings. This ritual begins with the bride’s family doing Ganesh Pooja. After that the groom’s family present gift to the bride family and the bride’s family presents gifts to the groom’s family. These gifts include new saree and jewellery for the bride while a new set of clothes for the groom. Both the bride and the groom change into the clothes gifted by their respective in-laws.

The bride’s brother and the groom’s sister applies chandan and kumkum tilak on the forehead of the groom and the bride respectively. After this the bride and the groom exchange garlands and then rings.

  • Lagna Patrikai

Once engagement is done, the priest officially announces the date of the wedding in front of the guests present for the engagement.

Wedding Rituals

  • Mangal Snannam

In this ritual, both bride and groom are given a purifying bath on the dawn of the wedding day. Before the bath, haldi and kumkum along with some oil is applied on both of them for a glowing skin.

  • Gauri Pooja

This ritual is performed only by the bride who after getting ready for her wedding, offers her prayer to the goddess Gauri.

  • Kashi Yatra

This is quite an interesting ritual in which the groom pretends to be going on a holy pilgrimage to Kashi and does not want to marry the girl. He is given all the bare essentials that are usually needed during the pilgrimage such as sleepers, umbrella, stick etc. The bride’s father then convinces him to marry his daughter. The groom agrees and is taken to the mandap for the wedding further wedding rituals.

 

  • Pada Puja

Pada here refers to feet. In this ritual, the mother/brother of the bride uses water, kumkum and chandan to wash-off the groom’s feet. Only after this ritual, the bride is brought into the mandap.

  • Maalai Maatral

In this ritual, beautiful flower garlands are exchanged 3 times between the bride as well as the groom. This marks the beginning of their holy union.

  • Onjal

This is another interesting and unique tradition of the Tamil Brahmin wedding. As per this tradition, the bride and the groom are made to sit on a swing. Both of them are then offered milk and banana by the married ladies of the family. Also, some rice balls are thrown around the swing in order to ward to off evil.

  • Kanyadaan

This is a very emotional ritual in which bride’s father gives away the hand of his daughter to the groom for eternity. The groom in turn assures father that he will be there with her in her good and bad times and will keep her happy.

During this ritual, the bride sits in her father’s lap. This symbolises thatthe father is actually giving away her child with a hope that the groom will always look after her.

  • Muhurutam and Saptapadi

These are the final rituals of a Tamil Brahmin wedding. In muhurutam, the groom fills the maang (hair partition) of the bride with kumkum and ties mangalsutra around her neck.

In saptapadi, the couple takes 7 rounds around the fire.

Post-Wedding Rituals

  • Sammandhi Maryathai

This is the first ritual which is performed after the wedding. As per this ritual, both the families exchange gifts as a token of love and appreciation. After the ritual, the bride heads towards her husband’s home.

  • Grihapravesham

Grih means house and pravesham means entrance. In this ritual, the groom’s mother welcomes the newly married couple by doing a small aarti.

  • Valeyadal

In this ritual. The real sister of the groom presents a gift to the bride. After that, some fun games are played by the bride and the groom.

These are some common rituals performed in Tamil Brahmin wedding. However, these rituals may or may not vary from one Tamilian community to another.

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