Tamil Matrimony: The Mangal Sutra – The ornament that ties it all together!

A Tamil Matrimony is marked by the bride bearing five important things – the mangal sutra , the kumkum , bangles, nose rings and toe rings. The Mangal sutra is the most important aspect in any Tamil Matrimony. The Mangal Sutra is considered to be the guardian of the wearer – thus protecting the bride from evil spirits and ensuring happiness and long-living. So let’s take a look at what this petite but elusive golden ornament stands for in a Tamil Matrimony.

Firstly , Mangal means something auspicious and sutra means thread. Typically in a Tamil Matrimony , the thaali is suspended in a thread smeared with turmeric paste. The thread marks the many strands of love, friendship and all other emotions that bind a relationship together. The mangal sutra is tied by the groom around the bride’s dainty neck. This tying of the knot marks the most crucial moment of a Tamil Matrimony – flashes light up the air , everyone shed their blessings and prayers on the bride and the groom and this golden ornament ties the entire ceremony together.

The golden ornament is called as thaali by Tamil people though thaalis of different castes don’t resemble one another. The Shivan devotees have three horizantal lines adorning their thaali and the Vishnu devotees have three vertical lines adorning the same. The Tamil Brahmins are found to be wearing a twin thaali.

The Mangal sutra can been seen similar to the wedding bands in the west. Just like how the westerners continue to wear the wedding bands once married , Tamil women continue to wear the Mangal sutra marking their holy matrimony. It marks the bride being married to someone. To any Tamil woman , the thaali is as precious and her husband. Every time a married tamil woman visits a temple , she adorns her thaali with kumkum.

In a Tamil Matrimony , the mangal sutra is tied with three knots around the bride’s neck – One knot to symbolize respect and reverence to God , another to symbolize respect to the groom and the final knot symbolizing respect to parents and relatives.

The Sumangali Pooja is another important ritual that is performed by married women belonging to the Tamil Community. The essence of performing a Sumangali pooja is to strengthen the life span of their thaali. They perform a fast and get the blessings of elders and good wishers. The words “Deerka Sumangali Bhava” are uttered by the elders to the married women which mean “Lead a long married life” – they wish both the bride and the husband a happy and long life.

Though in early days the Mangal sutra was worn only in a turmeric encased thread, recent days showcase the thread being wrapped around a golden chain which is sometimes adorned with precious stones like diamonds. In spite of all the cultural and societal changes that have happened over centuries , the thaali has not lost it’s significance in a Tamil Matrimony and continues to be the most important aspect of a Tamil wedding!

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