• We believe in modernism tossed in the convention of cult tradition because tradition is our rationale, our identity per se. Hence this column is provided with intent to hold our folklore high in all family functions, say here, we will take you through the legend of a south indian wedding….

    The credits or the tenets of hindu marriage, its conduct and procedure can be attributed to the ancient scriptures and our forefathers who have been passing them on from generation to generation. With modernisation and western influences creeping in, there is a pleasant amount of evolution in weddings. Keeping it pleasant we would also like to remind you that hindu weddings not just blend culture and joy but also lay down the fundamentals of leading life, as the couple embarks a new journey and beginning in their life together.

    For detailed insights into the same, catch our exclusive edition of ASR’s “south indian wedding” booklet which is gifted to the guests during the function. As in the mantras, we at the ASRs bless the couples and wish them long life, love, progeny, harmony, wealth, health and strength to face vicissitudes together.

    Youngsters often hold rituals as just formalities but there is more to it. India is a country of rich culture where there is some innate beauty in lighting of lamp symbolizing dispelling of darkness or may be folding hands into a ‘namaskar’ to greet elders.

    Now lets get down to know the significance and sanctity of these ceremonies.
  • As you enter, you get the glimpse of plaintain trees tied to gateposts, festoons overhead mango leaves and screwpine petals, harmony of nadaswarams- the south indian shehnai, kolams {rangolis}, rose water sprinklers, flowers, sandal paste, sugar candy – auspicious welcome signifying arty eternity.

    Previous day to wedding :

    Ushering in of the groom in a decorated vehicle from the temple in procession form {in order to get public approval of the credibility of the groom}

    Kind of baraat in north india, jaana vasam in the south – later the groom and his family are welcomed at the bride’s abode {marriage hall} followed by a formal betrothal.
  • Marriage day :

    Starts with ganpati pooja, naandi devata pooja {propitiating the presiding deities by installing a leaf laden branch of pipal tree….}, navagraha pooja {invocation of the nine astral planets ruling our destinies}

    Vratham : For bride – tying of kaappu {holy thread} to wipe out evils. For the groom, vratham involves invocation of various deities

    Kasi yathra : The bride’s father advises the groom [who is set on a journey to kasi {varanasi} with slippers, umbrella, bamboo fan] the superiority of married life to an ascetic life and gives away his daughter as a companion.

    Vaaku nichaya muhurtham : The bride’s and the groom’s father, at the hall finalise the engagement ceremony amidst chanting of hymns.

    Exchange of garlands : Symbolising a holy union - one soul in two bodies, the bride and the groom are lifted onto the shoulders of their maternal uncles for exchanging garlands.

    Oonjal {swing, ride and singing of laali} : The chains of the swing signify the cosmic link with the Almighty whereas the to and fro motion symbolizes the waves of life and their journey to be steady and in harmony.

    Paalikai seeds sowing : Fertility rite. paalikais are earthern pots with base of hoarily grass and bael leaves {vilvam}…nine kinds of presoaked cereals are sown in them by sumangalis {married woman} to be realeased in river as a token to health and progeny.

    Vara pooja : Feet of the groom is washed with milk, followed by lighted lamps and water being circulated around the swing and coloured globules of cooked rice thrown over.
  • Kanya daanam : Bride sits on her father’s lap and is given away as gift to the groom. This also confluences rites of keeping the darbha {sacres grass}….along with the thaali {mangal sutra}, giving the bride a new koorai saree, tieing a reed grass belt around her waist…….

    The groom’s assures {thrice} to the bride’s father of being a lifelong companion to his daughter

    Kankana dhaaranam : The bride ties a string around the groom’s waist, later, groom ties a kanakanam to her wrist binding them by a religious vow.

    Mangalya dhaaranam : At the timed moment, the groom ties the thaali around the bride’s neck. At this point, the nadhaswaram and thavil {percussion} are loud enough to muffle any inauspicious sound {getty melam}, ladies sing gowri kalyaname, vaibogame! Three knots are tied – one by the groom and the rest by his sister to make the bride a part of the family.

    Paani grahanam : Holding hands vowing not to part from each other
  • Saptha padhi : Holding her hand, the groom walks 7 steps, the belief goes to say that when one walks seven steps together they become friends. This rite completes the marriage as such!

    Pradhaana homam : The couple pay homage to Agni – fire god. Those fumes are supposed to have curative effects on the bodies of the couple, Agni is deemed to be witness to their marriage.
    {Agni saakshi}.

    Stepping on the grindstone : Holding her left foot, the groom helps her tread on the grindstone kept on the right of fire suggesting her mind to be as firm as rock!.

    Showing Arundhati : He shows her the Arundhati star and the Dhruva star. Arundhati is exemplified as the ideal wife and Dhruva for attaining immortality through devotion – virtues to uphold for a lifetime.

    Lajja homam : Comprising the bride’s own offering to agni, her brother helps her, gives her handful of parched grains, then handed over to the groom, who on her behalf offers it to the fire. Bride’s family participation indicates continuance of links between two families post marriage

    Showering of akshadai : Turmeric- saffron coated rice grains are showered on the couple as a token of blessings

    Grihapravesham : Amidst the vedic hymns sounding like mother’s word of advice,the bride takes leave of her home and enters the new one.

  • Nalungu : The newly wed wife calls her husband the evening of the marriage day to play, everyone joins and a series of games are played along with the ladies singing and making fun at the couple bringing out various qualities of the couple like sporting spirit, strength, cooperative nature.

    Night time homam : The jayaathi homam, pravesa homam, sesha homam {after 6.30 pm on the day of muhurtham}

    Thaamboolam and baladhanam : This comprises of the girl’s brother giving ceremonial first betel to the couple to chew and others gifts given as blessings for long life and children.

    Mangalaarthi : Lime- turmeric powder solution circled around and thrown off to keep away the evil, this is done number of times during the wedding ceremony too!