Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Regardless of region, caste, or language, weddings in India are boisterous occasions filled with pomp, splendor, rituals, and traditions. Tamil Brahmin weddings are no exception and they are known for their grandeur and vibrance, and also for their meaningful rituals and ceremonies that bring two families together.
From pre-wedding rituals to various post-wedding rituals, Tamil Brahmins weddings are a grand affair lasting days and it's believed that Tamil Brahmin weddings rituals are based on four Vedas, Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda respectively. Tamil Brahmin weddings are joyous and fun to shoot for the various traditional customs and even games for that matter.
Marriage ceremonies of Tamil brahmins have quite unique customs and in this blog, we shall read about the Tamil brahmin wedding and rituals in detail.
The long grandeur wedding rituals of the Tamil Brahmin community can be segregated into Pre-wedding, on-day, and post-wedding rituals. Let's go in order.
Pre-wedding Rituals for a Tamil Brahmin Wedding
Any traditional marriage in Tamil Nadu starts with Nakshatra Porutham, the customary practice of checking whether the bride's and groom's stars and kundali's are matched. The wedding proposal and further events are kept on hold until their stars are matched.
This is the first ritual performed in a Tamil Brahmin wedding. Elders in the family raise a decorated banana tree and place a tall wooden stick outside the house to announce that happy news of a marriage happening in the house. They bless the bride and groom and perform prayer services for an untroubled wedding.
Happily married women are invited to the bride's home and the bride is asked to worship these women and seek blessings from them for a prosperous married life. These women are served with good food and delicacies after the ceremony.
Vratham is a pre-wedding ritual that generally happens a day before the marriage. Both the bride's and groom's families fast to ensure their children’s prosperity and happiness for their new life together. On the same day, married women of the family pour water into a clay pot filled with nine varieties of grains, allowing the grains to sprout for the entire day. The story behind this symbolic ritual is quite fascinating, the pot is considered as the house and the grains represent the couples and the sprouting is believed to indicate the growth and prosperity of the couples. Various folk songs are sung by the family members during these rituals and two days later, the pot is immersed into the pond to feed the fish.
To perform this ritual, brahmin poojaries are invited to home and ancestors are worshipped and at the end of the puja, they are offered gifts as a token of respect and gratitude.
The Tamil Brahmin wedding ritual begins by worshipping Lord Ganesha. During this ceremony, many gifts are exchanged between the groom's and bride's family. Later, the bride and groom get dressed in their new clothes gifted to them by their specific in-laws. As a start to the ring exchange function, the groom's sister applies vermillion and sandalwood tilak on the bride's forehead and the bride's brother does the same for the groom. Followed by which the garlands are offered to the couples in the same fashion.
Once the garlands are exchanged among the family members, the couples exchange rings and thereby marking an end to Nichayathartham, one among the noted ritual of a Tamil Brahmin wedding. This pre-wedding function is usually hosted at a temple and on the same day, the marriage date is also fixed by the priest after taking their kundalis into consideration.
On-Day Tamil Brahmin Wedding Rituals
This equally fun and auspicious ritual begins early in the morning of the marriage day at their respective houses. In this ceremony, turmeric, vermillion, and oil are applied to the couple's body as a skincare prepping for the big day events.
After getting ready for the marriage, the bride worships Goddess Gouri and seeks blessing before for a prosperous and healthy after married life.
This is another dramatic ritual that happens during the Tamil Brahmin wedding. The tradition says that the groom has to pretend that he is going to Kashi to become a sanyasi, meanwhile the bride's father and other relatives convince him to not go for Kashi but to get married to their daughter. Later on, the groom changes his mind and agrees on marriage and he is welcomed to the wedding hall with grand gestures.
Usually, the wedding is hosted at the bride's side and so on the day of the wedding, the bride's family welcomes the groom's family with a wide variety of platters containing fruits, nuts, clothes, and more. Right after that, the bride is gifted with a saree which she needs to wear at her marriage ceremony.
In a Tamil Brahmin Wedding, when the groom enters the mandap, the bride's father washes his feet using a mixture of holy water, vermillion, milk, and sandalwood, and after that the groom's feet are dried using flower petals.
Here, both the bride and groom exchange garlands to each other offered to them by their maternal uncles as per the chronological hierarchy. This ritual is performed to establish the unification of two souls.
During this Tamil Brahmin wedding ritual, both the bride and groom are asked to sit on a wooden swing, while the ladies in the house sing wedding folk songs of the tradition called oonjal pattu. The couples are offered bananas and milk and this is part of the tradition is to ease out their mind before tying the knot.
After oonjal, couples move together to the mandap and the Kannika dhaanam is the next ritual in the queue.
In this Tamil Brahmin wedding ritual, the bride sits on her father's lap with a coconut in hand which they collectively hand over to the groom. The bride's mother sprinkles holy water on the coconut and in the end a holy thread is tied on their hands.
This is the sacred Tamil brahmin wedding ritual where the groom ties the mangal sutra around the bride's neck. During this Naadaswarm and other instruments are played loudly signifying the auspicious event and along with the Mangal sutra or Taali maala, a turmeric thread is also tied around the bride’s neck with three knots.
During this wedding ritual, couples hold each other's hands and take seven rounds around the holy fire this ritual intends to establish the sacred relationship of marriage. The prayers chanted during saptapadi signify the essentials for a harmonious life, food, strength, wealth and prosperity, love and affection, progeny, the opportune time, and lasting friendship.
The newly married woman is asked to step on a grinding stone and this Tamil brahmin ritual symbolizes that she should be as unperturbed by life's difficulties as the rock-like stone beneath her feet.
In this ritual, both the bride's and groom's families exchange gifts thereby expressing their love and respect for each other. After this, the bride bids goodbye and leaves with her in-laws.
Post-wedding Tamil Brahmin Wedding Rituals
Before leaving to the groom's house, both the bride and groom seek blessings from the elderly in the bride's family and thus start a blessed journey together.
This is the Tamil Brahmin wedding ritual where the newlyweds visit the groom's house. Groom's mother performs aarathi for the couple and the bride enters the groom's house for the first time by holding a lamp in her hand.
It is the occasion where, the groom's sister offers gifts to the bride and the whole family engages in playing games, these customary traditional games are played to make the bride feel at home.
After all the wedding events and other ceremonies, the couples visit the bride's paternal home after three days of marriage and this marks the end to all the rituals performed and practiced in a Tamil Brahmin Wedding.
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