A simple wedding that holds a very rich culture and tradition that is bound to last a lifetime is what Tamil Matrimony represents. This perhaps shows the very reason why this wedding is full of sacred rituals even before the day of the wedding and after the ceremony is over.
Two families are involved in the planning of the Tamil Marriage – the groom’s and the bride’s. Most especially in arranged marriages, their parents meticulously plan and determine the compatibility of their children to be married. The family priest analyzes the horoscope of the soon to be couple. This is followed by a meeting in the groom’s household for the exchange of marriage agreement on a plate with coconuts, bananas, and betel leaf.
Before the Marriage:
The sacred rituals in a Tamil Matrimony start with the meeting of the groom and the bride, of course, and the exchange of symbolic presents: for the bride, a silk sari, and for the groom, clothes and/or money.
Panda Kaal Muhurtham – The families involved are required to offer prayers for the blessing, peaceful, and joyful wedding to God.
Sumangali Prarthanai – The women whose husbands passed away at an early age (Sumangalis) are considered lucky and offer prayers to the soon to be bride.
Pallikal Thellichal – Also known as Pallikal Thalippu or Karappu, these are symbolic earthen pots that are decorated with sandalwood and are filled with nine different kinds of grains. After the wedding, these pots are immersed in a body of water, such as lakes, and are believed to feed the fishes and symbolize bounty.
Naandi Shraartham – Praying to their ancestors is important and is done by inviting 10 Brahmins from both families.
Nicchyadharatham – Performed by the bride’s parents, the Ganesh Puja (Pooja), is where the groom’s family presents new gifts to the bride like saris and jewelry. A kumkum and shandan tilak is applied to her forehead.
Lagna Pathirigai – The presentation of the bride and groom, announced by the priest, that formally invites everyone to the Matrimony.
During the Matrimony:
On the day of the wedding, different rituals are done to ensure that the couple stays blessed and their culture understood very well.
Mangala Snaanam – On the dawn of the wedding day, the couple receives a purifying bath, and their houses applied with oil.
Gauri Puja (Pooja) – The bride solemnly prays to the Goddess Gauri, the goddess of purity.
Kashi Yatra – A reenactment of the groom pretending to refuse to undergo the Tamil Matrimony. The bride’s father convinces him for the marriage.
Pada Puja – The washing of the groom’s feet done by his mother.
Maalai Maatral – For three times, the couple exchanges a garland.
Oonial Ritual – The couple will sit on a swing, they will be given rice balls.
Kanydaanam – The formal handing of the bride to the groom and acceptance of the groom to the bride’s family.
Muhurutum – The bride wears a nine yard sari; the groom is given a thread (mangalsutra) that is tied to her neck.
Saptapadi – Known as the seven rounds around the fire.
After the Matrimony:
Sammandhi Maryathai – The families give gifts to the new couple, and the bride leaves her parent’s home.
Grihapravesham – The bride is welcomed to her new home, and the groom’s mother performs Aarti.
Valeyadal – The sister-in-law starts the wedding games.
Maruvidu Varudal – The first time the couple visits the house of the bride’s parents as a couple. Here they receive gifts such as jewelry. And this marks the end of the Tamil Matrimony and start of their new life.