Kerala Nair wedding – simple ceremony with grand arrangements
Kerala Nair wedding has drawn attention from many sectors in the past. The concept of matrilineal community existed with the Nairs only in India. Going back to history, it has been found that Nairs were warriors by nature. Female members are given great importance in the caste and in the marumakkathayam system, the rights and responsibility of a joint family are endowed on the female family members only.
When compared to other forms of South Indian weddings, it has been seen that Kerala Nair marriages are quite different from them. There are not many rituals in the marriage and the whole process is a short one. This is the reason many people say that these marriages are more of a social celebration than some kind of religious ceremony. However, there are some pre-wedding and post-wedding rituals that are carried out in the home of the bride and the groom.
The pre-wedding rituals
• Matching of horoscopes of the bride and the groom – In the present era, not many families believe in horoscope matching. However, if it is an arranged marriage, matching horoscopes is almost mandatory. The family priest is summoned to read the horoscopes and determine if the couple is suitable to get married. If the results are affirmative, the next steps are followed.
• Pennu Kanal (meeting with the girl) – Once the process of horoscope matching is over successfully, parents of the groom, the groom himself and some elderly members of the family go to meet the bride officially. Sometimes great arrangements are made for the occasion and sometimes it is just a small family affair.
• Veedu Kanal (meeting with the boy) – After the groom’s visit to the girl’s place, it is now time for the girl’s parents to go and visit the groom’s place. This helps them in understanding the family in which their daughter will be married. Usually the girl does not come on his occasion.
• Vivaha Nischayam (final engagement) – This is the official engagement ceremony where the marriage is declared by both the families in presence of family elders and all close friends and relatives. While some families celebrate the engagement on a large scale, some keep the celebrations as homely affair. Exchange of wedding rings is optional. While some families carry out this ritual on the engagement day, some keep the ritual for the wedding day.
• Ayana (a day before the wedding) – This occasion takes place just the day before the wedding at both the bride and the groom’s place. On this occasion, close friends and relatives are invited and the bride and the groom receive blessings and good wishes from them. The bride is made to wear a bright silk saree and lots of jewelry for the occasion. A grand traditional dinner is arranged for all the invited guests.