South Indian Wedding Rituals
The Hindu wedding ceremonies are laden with rituals and customs. The south Indian marriage ceremonies are no different. There are Christian weddings too in the southern part however those rituals remain the same as any part of the world. It is fascinating to see how a regional difference can do so much in the rituals and traditions of a certain religion. Albeit some of them could change given the time and century and we live in, but we cannot help but gauge at the magnificence of these ceremonies all the while.
As one enters the marriage hall or venue of the southern India, once notices the fully grown plantation trees that remain tied to the gate posts. Then there are mango leaves atop the festoons and such natural items surrounding you. But most of all you can notice is the vibe of the atmosphere – there’s a definite indication of a ceremony and you can notice it by the way the air travels over here. The rangoli designs welcome you in house and you are forever taken aback.
Here are a few more of the unforgettable South Indian wedding rituals that you cannot forget:
- The evening before: Right from the evening prior to the wedding, all the arrangements start. This begins with the bridegroom coming to the wedding venue in a procession. The ride is adorned with flowers and you can see them being brought with all eyes waiting. Then the bride’s parents escort the groom to the marriage “mandapam”. The band that leads the groom along the way is called the Nadaswaram. It is a sight to behold! You can also read an article to know about Mandap Hire during Wedding Factors to know
- After reaching: After reaching the venue and getting the things in order, the formal ceremony begins. It begins with the invocation of the God Ganapati who is associated with auspiciousness. So with his blessings the ceremony begins so that there are no obstacles in the marriage or hindrances during the ceremony. Then during this time 5 married ladies are asked to perform a ritual of washing a neem laden Pipal tree. This is why the tree is set up in the “mandapam”. This is done to please the Hindu Gods and Devtas. you can follow the link to know about the importance of ganesh pooja before wedding
- After the puja: After this puja is concluded, a dhoti is presented to the groom and a saree is gifted to the bride. This is done to propitiate the destiny of the couple. It is an offering to the 9 planets that govern human fate.
- The marriage ceremony: After presenting the clothes, now the marriage ceremony begins. It starts with a ceremony called the “Vratham” which the bride and groom have to perform separately and individually. The bride does this by tying the “holy thread” on her wrist – which is meant to keep all evil spirits and evil eyes off of her. The groom does it on the other hand by preparing for a new chapter in his life called the “Grihasta” or the “householder”. The days of being a bachelor are now over for the groom and he has to accept that – this is what Vratham means for the groom. You can also read the article to know about haldi ceremony in hindu wedding.
- At the mandapam: Now the bride and groom’s father, surrounded by relatives and of course the bride and groom, are sitting facing each other. The Vedic priest keeps chanting mantras and hymns to carry out the marriage ceremony. The names of the brides and grooms and the names of 3 generations that came before them are chanted out. After this is done, the bride and the groom are then lifted on the shoulders of their own uncles. This is when they exchange garlands – thrice to make the union perfect. The exchange of garlands is actually the symbol of acceptance of each other down to the very essence and fragrance of each other.
- The give away: After this is done, the bride is taken to sit on her father’s lap so as to be “given away” to the groom by him. This is a ceremony that exists even today. A ring is made on the girl’s head. After this some other elements such as the mangalsutra are placed on the bride’s head and she is given a washing – this is called “Koorai”. After this washing, she is wrapped around in a piece of cloth by her sister in law. Actually this piece of cloth is a saree and it is called the Koorai Saree. You can also follow a link to know about Latest Saree Draping Style step by step
- The 7 rounds around fire: After the giveaway and the Koorai saree wrap around the bride, three knots are tied on it. The first one symbolizes her tie up with the groom and is tied by the groom itself. The second two knots are tied by the sister in law to make her association with their family a final one. It is then that the groom holds the bride’s hands and walks with her around 7 steps with her. This is called the most important part of the marriage ceremony and is also known to be. It is usually said that when two people walk 7 steps with each other they become friends. The essence of true marriage is friendship. So this is where this has been brought forth from.
- Honor to Agni (fire): Agni Dev is one of the deities of the Hindu religion. He is pleased in every ceremony with fire, twigs, ghee and nine types of wood from the sacrificial trees. It is said that Agni is pleased with all of these elements. However, these elements when burnt in fire create a vapor which has therapeutic healing and purifying properties. Also it is believed that Agni is the most powerful element in the entire cosmos and he is brought to witness the marriage ceremony. You can also read the article to know the things required during hindu wedding pooja.
- The bidai: Once the ceremonies are over of the marriage, the bride has to leave the marriage venue and go to the groom’s home with her. This is done and soon after the groom helps her tread on the grindstone holding her left feet’s toe. This is supposed to be a symbol of the groom helping the bride out to move ahead in life. The elders and the relatives then put rice grains covered with turmeric on the couple’s head. After this the bride is taken to the “Lajja Hamam” or the bath of the women. The Vedic hymns are sung – these are ancient hymns representing the mother’s advise to her daughter.
- Evening after marriage: Now this is the time of fun and frolick to begin. The bride and the groom and their families relax and play some games. Even these games are supposed to be symbolic. They are supposed to show the tuning between the bride and groom. Then the relatives and the cousins gather around the couple and poke fun at them. These bring out the sporting spirit, the strength, co-operation and kindness of the bride and groom.
Finally a solution of turmeric powder is circled around the couple and thrown out to keep evil eye off. It is done once before the wedding and once right after when the couple relaxes.
|1||Agni||Symbol of fire, Purification|
|2||Koodai or Koorai||Symbol of rebirth, new life|
|3||Turmeric powder||Keeps off evil eye|