Marriage Tradition in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is a southeastern state of India, situated on the Bay of Bengal. It is specifically famous for its natural beauty. Apart from the backwaters, coffee plantations and luscious South Indian delicacies, the state is also known for its rich tradition and culture which dates back to the era of Dravidians.

Wedding rituals play an important role in determining the mores and background of any civilization. Likewise, the wedding tradition of Tamil Nadu reflects its rich ancient ethnicity. In fact, the cultural and traditional customs are of prime importance in a typical Tamil wedding. Auspicious lagna timing is derived with the consensus of the bride and bridegroom’s family. The wedding can be fixed either in the morning or in the night on a mutual consent of both parties. Like all Indian weddings, the Tamil weddings also have crucial pre, post, and marriage ceremonies, that should be followed ritually, for a fulfilling conjugal life.

Pre-Marriage Ceremonies

Panda Kaal Muhurtham: As per the tradition, Panda Kaal Muhurtham ritual is performed a day before the wedding. The parents of the bride and the bridegroom visit their ancestral temple, perform puja and take blessings of the god.

Pallikai Thelichal: In this ritual, a lady from the bride’s side fills the earthen pots with grains, following which other ladies sprinkle water on those pots. This ritual marks the beginning of the wedding ceremony. A delighted ambience is created where wedding songs are sung, and folk dances are performed. Next day, the pots full of sprouted grains are put in the pond so that the Fish God eats those and blesses the bride and groom.

Naandi: Brahmins from both sides are invited and provided a full meal during the Naandi ritual. To seek pious blessings of the Brahmins, they are also gifted clothes and sweets by the bride and the groom, in person.

Nicchiyadharatham: Ganesha Puja is done in the presence of the priest. During the puja/Prayer, the groom’s side gives a saree to the bride to-be, which she wears during the wedding ceremony. As per the ritual, a tilak is applied on the bride’s forehead and her saree is filled with cashew nuts.

Lagan Patri: In the end, the priest officially delivers the marriage invitation in front of all those present, thus formally inviting all to the wedding.

Marriage Ceremonies

Mangala Snanam: At the dawn of the wedding day, the bride and the bridegroom should mandatorily bathe thoroughly for self-purification. This ritual is followed at their respective homes. This bath is known as Mangala Snanam.

दाता –

वाचा दत्ता मया कन्या पुत्रार्थं स्वीकृता त्वया ।

कन्यावलोकनविधौ निश्चितस्त्वं सुखी भव ॥

ग्रहीता –

वाचा दत्ता मया कन्या पुत्रार्थं स्वीकृता मया ।

वरावलोकनविधौ निश्चितस्त्वं सुखी भव ॥

ब्राह्मण –

स॒मा॒नी व आकू॑तिः समा॒ना हृद॑यानि वः।

स॒मा॒नम॑स्तु वो॒ मनो॒ यथा॑ वः॒ सुस॒हास॑ति॥

Kashi Yatra: This is a short and delightful ceremony where the groom is supposed to pretend as if he is leaving on a pilgrimage i.e. Kashi Yatra. The groom starts shunting from one house to another carrying a walking stick and a couple of clothes wrapped over the stick. As part of this pretext, the bride’s father finally impedes the groom’s path and requests him to take responsibility of his daughter. To this, the groom yields and goes back home to get ready for the wedding.

Exchange of Garlands: In this ceremony, the bride and the groom exchange their garlands. An interesting part of this ritual is that they are supposed to do so at the first available chance.

Oonjal: The bride along with her groom to-be is then asked to sit on a beautifully decorated swing or jhoola. Married women, from both sides, congregate and feed a spoonful of milk with banana to both of them. To ward off evil spirits during this pious occasion, the women specially decorate rice balls in a circle, in the anti-clock direction.

Kanyadanam: This is the most interesting event in all Hindu marriages including the Tamil. The parents of the bride have the most important role to play here. They give the hand of their daughter in the hand of the groom. The hand-giving occasion signifies that, from that particular moment, the groom takes up the responsibility of the bride for lifetime.

कन्यादानम्

ॐअनृक्षरा ऋजवः सन्तु पंथा य़ोभिः सखाय़ो यंति नो वरेयम्।

समर्यमा सं भगो नो निनीयात् सं जास्पत्यं सुयमस्तु देवाः॥

क इदं कस्मा समिद्रमाविश कामेन त्वा प्रतिगृह्णामि कामैतत्ते वृष्टिरसि द्यौस्त्वा ददातु पृथिवी प्रतिगृह्णातु॥

Below mentioned mantras are recited at the end of the Kanyadana ceremony.

ॐहिं॒कृ॒ण्व॒ती व॑सु॒पत्नी॒ वसू॑नां व॒॒त्समि॒च्छन्ती॒ मन॑सा॒भ्यगा॒त्।

दु॒हाम॒श्विभ्यां॒ पयो॑ अ॒घ्न्येयं सा व॑र्धतां म॒हते सौभ॑गाय ॥

ॐवन॑स्पते श॒तव॑ल्शो॒ विरो॑ह स॒हस्र॑वल्शा॒ वि व॒यं रु॑हेम।

यं त्वाम॒यं स्वधि॑ति॒स्तेज॑मानः प्रणि॒नाय॑ मह॒ते सौभ॑गाय॥

ॐइंदु॑र्दे॒वाना॒मुप॑ स॒ख्यमा॒यनूत्स॒हस्र॑धारः पवते॒ मदा॑य।

नृभिः॒ स्तवा॑नो॒॒ अनु॒ धाम॒ पू॒र्वमग॒न्निद्रं॑ मह॒ते सौभ॑गाय॥

ॐअ॒स्य पिब॑ क्षु॒मतः॒ प्रस्थि॑त॒स्येंद्र॒ सोम॑स्य॒ वर॒मासु॒तस्य॑।

स्व॒स्ति॒दा मन॑सा मादयस्वार्वाची॒नो रे॒वते॒ सौभ॑गाय॥

ॐघृ॒तदुर्लु॑प्तं॒॒ मधु॑मत्सु॒वर्णं॑ धनंज॒यं ध॒रुणं॑ धारयि॒ष्णुः।

ऋ॒णक्स॒पत्नां॒ दध॑रांश्चकृ॒ण्वदारो॑ह॒ मां म॑ह॒ते सौभ॑गाय॥

ॐतद॑स्तु मित्रावरुणा॒ तद॑ग्ने॒ शं योर॒स्मभ्य॑मि॒दम॑स्तु श॒स्तम्।

अ॒शी॒महि॑ गा॒धमु॒त प्र॑ति॒ष्ठां नमो॑ दि॒वे बृ॑ह॒ते साद॑नाय॥

Saptapadi: In Saptapadi, the groom takes the right hand of the bride in his hand and leads her around the sacred fire. This procedure is followed seven times by the groom and the bride. Saptapadi marks the solemnization of the Tamil wedding ceremony.

सप्तपदीः

इष एकपदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव।पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥

ऊर्जे द्विपदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥

रायस्योषाय त्रिपदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥

मा यो भव्याय चतुष्पदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥

प्रजाभ्यः पंचपदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥

ऋतुभ्यः षट्पदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥

सखा सप्तपदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥

जीवपत्नी प्रजां विदेय।

Post Wedding Tamil Rituals

Nagoli Vasthra: This ritual involves presenting the groom with a suitcase, new clothes, and a diamond ring.

Grihapravesha: Grihapravesha marks the entry of the newly wedded bride at her husband’s place. Upon her entrance, she is received with an Aarti and just before she enters the house she tips over a kalash full of rice.

Sambandhi Virandh: Exchange of precious gifts takes place between the bride and the groom’s families during Sambandhi Virandh ritual. This occurs completely at the freewill of both families and the dowry issue never pop ups in this occasion.

Vilayadal: This ritual belongs to groom’s sister as she presents a gift to the newly wedded bride, her sister-in-law. Children and other family members wait long for Vilayadal as it is followed by an amusing event where the couple indulges in traditional wedding games.

Reception: On the wedding evening or within a week of the wedding, a reception is hosted by the groom’s family. The reception is attended by all acquaintances from the groom’s side. The event is specially organized to introduce the newlywed bride formally to her new friends and family members.

Bridal Night: On the night of the wedding the bride’s mother presents an idol of Lord Krishna to the couple along with other gifts. Next morning, when the couple comes out of their room, the women in the house welcome them by singing traditional and joyful songs.

Sadva Puja: Sadva puja is organized on the next day of the wedding. The bride is asked to serve ‘payasam’ to the family members after the puja.

Send-off: A relative from the bride’s side comes to receive the bride. The family of the bride sends an elaborate meal for the groom’s family. The food packed and sent to the bride’s new home is called Kattusadam. The bride, accompanied by her relative, comes to her matrimonial home carrying all gifts from the groom’s family.

Sumangali Prarthanai: This celebration resembles the pre-wedding rituals of dancing and singing joyful songs by the ladies in the house. However, this time, it is the groom’s place where the event takes place.

Maruvidu Varudal: The groom comes to receive the bride at her parents’ place. The groom is welcomed by his in-laws who again willingly shower the couple with gifts. This is an important ritual in Tamil marriage as it signifies the winding up of the wedding ceremony and starting of a pious conjugal life for the newlywed couple.

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