Nischaiyahtartham: The Engagement Ceremony

 

Though the Tamil Brahmins (Iyers and Iyengars) basically follow the same rituals and customs there are slight variations. For instance, the engagement ceremony in the case of the Iyers takes place in the groom's residence whereas the Iyengars follow the custom of hosting it in the bride's home.

A 'pujari' (Brahmin priest) writes what is known as the 'lagna patrika' specifiying the date, time and venue of the marriage and this serves as a sort of commitment for both families. The bride's family brings fruits and sweetmeats and the groom's people in turn serve them snacks and dinner and present a sari to the bride.

 
Janavasam & Nischaiyartham: Inviting the groom to the 'mandapam' and sorting out any differences between both families
 

This is a very important aspect of the marriage where any differences between the families are sorted out. This ceremony takes place in a temple. The bride's family brings turmeric, betel leaves, nuts and clothes for the groom. The bride's brother then garlands the groom, and sugar candy is distributed to all present. The groom is then escorted to a decorated car and the family leaves in a procession for the 'mandapam'.

 
 

Once the procession reaches the marriage venue, the bride is led outside by her close friends to get a glimpse of her future husband! 'Aarthi' is performed and a coconut broken to ward off evil. The groom is then led to the 'medai' (an elevated place in the 'mandapam' where all the ceremonies are performed). Members of both families sit opposite each other and a 'lagna patrika' (marriage contract) is written and read aloud by the 'pujari'. 'Thamboolams' (platters of betel nuts, dry fruits, nuts, coconuts, turmeric and 'kumkum') and gifts are exchanged.

The cone shaped 'parupputhengai' (a special sweetmeat) is an important part of all these ceremonies.
 
 
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