Tamil Nadu loves and honors its culture and religious celebrations. For them, a wedding is a sacred union which happens in the presence of the Divine. For this reason, Tamil Wedding Rituals focus on the intricacies of the religious aspects. They are simple, yet full of vibrant color and melodious nadaswaram. Tamil weddings have essential pre-wedding, and post-wedding ceremonies which aid to create a strong bond.
Pre- Tamil Wedding Rituals
When the families are looking for a potential partner for the bride/ groom, they also match their horoscope. In many Tamil families, this part is a pre-requisite to even consider a prospective partner.
Once the horoscope matches, the families meet and discuss further details of the marriage. The families along with a purohit finalise the wedding agreement. This agreement is finally arranged on a platter lined with a banana leave with betel nuts, fruits and a coconut.
Panda Kaal Muhurtham
Both the families come together before the wedding to perform this pooja. This pooja is usually conducted on the eve of the wedding. The families pay their obeisance to the Lords, and pray that the wedding takes place without any obstacles.
This is a fascinating ritual where a pooja is conducted dedicated to married women. Sumangalis, or married women in odd numbers, i.e., 3, 7 or 9 are invited. The bride offers her prayers and takes their blessings. After the pooja concludes, she gives gifts to these sumangalis, and a sumptuous feast follows.
Five to six married women, mostly close relatives decorate earthern pots. The women fill the pots with 9 types of grains and curd. Simultaneously, a few others draw elaborate Kollam around the house. These decorated and filled earthen pots are then immersed into a river or lake. Kollam, a rangoli made with rice flour, feeds tiny insects, and the grains feed the fishes. This is a decorated way of giving something back to nature on this auspicious occasion.
The groom and his family come to the bride’s place a day before the wedding. The bride’s family receive them warmly and shower them with rose water and sweets. The families invite around 10 Brahmins for an authentic South Indian Feast. The families also offer the Brahmins with veshti angavastram, fruits, coconuts, betel leaves and supari as gifts.
First the Bride and her family offer a Ganesh Pooja. This is followed by the in-laws gifting the bride and the groom with new clothes and jewelry. The bride and the groom change into their new attire and come back to the stage. Here, the bride’s brother applies Kumkum on the groom’s forehead and offer him a garland. Simultaneously, the groom’s sister does the same for the bride. The bride and the groom then exchange rings. This ceremony concludes with the families officially announcing the date of the marriage in front of their guests.
Tamil Wedding Rituals
Tamil Wedding Rituals start at the dawn of the Wedding Day. The bride and the groom are given this Mangala Snaanam in their respective houses. A good amount of haldi and essential oils are applied on them. This follows with a sacred bath which will purify them for the wedding. Finally, the elders give a aarathi to ward off any evil and apply vermillion on their foreheads.
Gauri Pooja/ Kashi Yatra
The bride first enters the venue. She performs Gauri Pooja. Goddess Gowri is a symbol of fertility, motherhood, and purity. The Bride prays to Goddess Gowri to bless her with a happy marriage and healthy children.
At this time, the groom gets ready to leave the materialistic world and family life to become a sanyasi. He wears a simple attire and a bamboo umbrella and starts walking away from the venue. The father of the groom then goes behind him, requesting him to come back and marry his daughter.
When the groom comes back to the venue, the bride’s mother washes his feet with water, sandalwood and Kumkum. In some traditions, this ritual is performed by the groom’s mother.
Malaai Maatral and Oonjal
The bride and the groom exchange garlands. They then sit on a swing decorated with flowers. The elders of the family feed the bride and the groom with milk and banana. Rice balls are used to ward of evil and thrown around the swing.
The bride’s parents give away the bride to the groom. A unique part of kanyadaanam as a Tamil Wedding Ritual is that, the bride sits on her father’s lap. A daughter will always be a daddy’s girl, this ritual symbolizes that the father is asking the groom to take care of his little girl.
Muhurtham and Saptapadi
At the set muhurtham/ most auspicious time, the groom applies Kumkum on bride’s forehead and ties the thaali around her neck.
After this, the bride and the groom take seven steps/ rounds around the sacred fire. Each round is a vow the couple takes to treat each other with love and respect. This ritually concludes the wedding ceremonies. After this, the guests come onto the stage and congratulate the couple and shower them with gifts.
Post- Tamil Wedding Rituals
This part is similar to any Indian Hindu Wedding. The girl leaves her parental house and proceeds towards her husband’s home. This marks as a new beginning for the couple and is full of mixed emotions.
Once the couple reaches home, the groom’s mother welcomes them into the house with an aarathi. This ceremony is called Grihapravesham. The couple is welcomed with love and affection. This follows with fun ice-breaker games.