Rituals on wedding day
• Coming of the baraat – On the main day of the wedding, the groom along with his relatives and family members and friends come to the wedding venue. Usually the procession of the baraat comes with a band, which plays various kinds of tunes and traditional music. The groom is served sherbet, which he enjoys with his brother-in-law and other relatives. The bride’s sisters welcome the guests by sprinkling rose water on them and presenting them with flowers.
• Main wedding ceremony or Nikaah – During the main wedding ceremony of Kerala Muslims, the bride and the groom sit separately. The Nikaah takes place under the supervision of the Maulvi. Quranic verses are chanted by the Maulvi and the bride’s father offers the hand of his daughter to the groom. This is followed by the proposal of the groom to the bride. The Maulvi conveys this message to the bride through the ritual of Ijaab. The bride in return provides her consent to the proposal by telling ‘Qubool’. When it is ‘Qubool’ from both the bride and the groom, the Nikaah is said to be over.
Once the Ijaab-Qubool ritual is over, the next ritual Mahr starts. This is the wedding gift that the groom gives to his wife. This is a very important ritual in Muslim marriages. Mahr can be in the form of property, gold, cash, movable objects etc. It stands for the commitment and responsibility of the groom towards the bride after marriage. After the Mahr is given, it is time for signing the Nikkahnaama. This is the Muslim Marriage Certificate. Along with the bride and the groom, fathers of the couple have to sign the Nikkahnaama as well. The head priest signs at the end.
After the Nikkahnaama is signed, the new couple is made to sit on a stage, where they receive blessings and gifts from elders and friends and relatives. The most interesting part is that during the whole wedding ritual, the bride and the groom’s heads are covered with a cloth and they cannot see each other. After meeting family members, relatives and friends and getting gifts, the couple gets back to the stage where the Qazi makes the couple repeat some prayers after him. The Holy Quran is kept between the couple and they cannot see each other directly, but only through a mirror. This completes the wedding rituals.
Post wedding rituals among Kerala Muslims
• Ruksat – Ruksat is the ritual when the bride leaves her parent’s house and goes to her groom’s house. All are teary eyed at this moment. On reaching the groom’s house, the bride’s mother-in-law welcomes the couple to the house by placing the Holy Quran over the head of the new bride. After entering, the bride seeks blessings from the elder members of the family.
• Chauthi – After four days of the wedding, the bride visits her parent’s home. She is welcomed heartily at her home by her parents and other relatives.
• Walima – After completing 5 days of marriage, the family of the groom arranges a grand reception. This is popularly known as Daawat-e-Walima. Friends, relative, family members are invited to the reception and a grand feast is offered.
Jewelry that the Kerala Muslim Bride adorns on her wedding day
Taking a look at any Kerala Muslim bride will let you know the volume of jewelry that she adorns on her wedding day. She wears three kinds of necklaces – the Padi Mala, Aalochana Mala and the Chakrakanni Mala. All the three neckpieces are heavy and have great volumes of gold and other precious gems and stones embedded in them. Studded earrings are a must for the wedding and are called, Alicathu, Pachakallu, Mekkath and Jhimiki. The bride’s head and forehead also has gorgeous jewelry called Nettipattam, Mudipoo, Matti and Mudichakram. The waist belt is a broad one made of gold and other gems and stones and is called Arappatta. Various kinds of intricately decorated and carved bangles beautify the bride’s hands as well. They come in different varieties like Thari Vala, Thol Vala and Kannadi Vala. Studded rings enhance the beauty of the fingers and the gold mehendi handset covers the back of the palm completely. Overall the bride looks dazzling and gorgeous in these lovely traditional pieces of jewelry that can be found in the jewelry box of any Kerala Muslim bride.