Rituals of Tamil Nadu Chettiar Wedding
The tamilian Chettiyars have been the personification and epitome of pride, fashion, progress, globalization, culture and heritage dating back to 700 AD. Basically, it is a business community and was renowned for their keen business sense, social standing, and contributions to the benevolent ventures and their elan for hundreds of years now. The cultural history of this community is exceedingly rich and showcases their success at its best. A tamilian chettiar wedding is an elaborate affair with a long list of ceremonies and rituals and is usually a six days affair. One of the imperative segments of the chettiar marriage is gifting to the couple which may range from broomstick or even the smallest home item to expensive diamonds in the multiples of seven. Though, the most of the nagarathars stay away from their native village but they prefer to arrange the wedding ceremonies in their village Nagra.
But, before the marriage ceremonies can begin, a Nagarathar marriage is required to take approval from the respective temple of the groom. As a sign of marriage approval, the temple authorities deliver the garlands for the couple to the venue of the marriage.
The groom’s parents and some other close relatives go together to meet the bride and her family at a common place. Nowadays, as traditions are changing, the groom also joins his family to meet the bride. The family of the bride offers a silver bucket with coconut, banana, beetle nuts and beetle leaves. If the family of the groom likes the bride, they accept the silver bucket as a token of acceptance of the bride in their family. Once, everybody approves of the bride they exchange beetle nuts and beetle leaves to showcase their confirmation. Then the parents of the couple decide a date for their marriage after consulting the astrologers.
The family of the groom arrives at the bride’s home at the day of the wedding before the actual “muhurtham” but they do not enter the house. They wait at a community hall or temple are are welcomed by the family of the bride.
Pen edukki kattuthal
It is one of the important rituals in a nagarathar marriage and it is basically the first meeting of the groom and the bride. As the groom reaches the home of the bride, he is shown the bride by asking her to come at the door. Though, they don’t get to talk or spend some time together.
In this ritual, the maternal uncles of the couple become the wedding felicitators. They wear a mamakara pattu, which is a pink fluorescent silk towel that they wrap around their body. The maternal uncle of the bride brings her to the groom who is sitting in the manal. The groom ties the Chettiyar thaali or Kaluthiru around the bride’s neck, which she wears for the wedding. Afterwards, a gold thaali is given as a substitute for the regular use.
In this ceremony, the family of the bride shares its wealth in the form of vegetables and food grains. This is carried by bride’s maternal uncle and is handed over to the groom’s family. Then, the maternal uncle of the groom helps in carrying these to the home of the grrom.
Poo manam choridhal
This ceremony is for giving the blessings and the bride and the groom are made to sit with the folded legs. The male elders of the family dip their hands in a bowl which has been filled with petals and take out a few petals to place them on the folded legs of the couple. These petals are also placed on the couple’s shoulders and are finally thrown behind them. This ceremony symbolizes the blessings given by the elders to the couple.
Manjal neeru aduthal
In this ceremony, the cousins of the couple participate and wash their feet with manjal neer (pure water).
Mana pen solli kolluthal
This is an emotional ceremony where the bride bids goodbye to her parents and family. It is extremely emotional and difficult moment for the bride as she has to relive the love of her family and the memories of her childhood days as she leaves her home to become a woman and take up new responsibilities of her new family.
Kattu soaru unnuthal
It is very old tradition, where the groom’s family has to travel for a day with the packed foods as they take the bride back home. The food that used to be packed usually contained rice, and during their journey they used to take rest besides a pond or tank, and have their food. Most of the nagarathar marriages follow this tradition till date.
In this event, the bride is welcomed formally to the groom’s home and is embraced as a family member. The couple is usually taken to a temple in their native village before being invited to the home of the groom. On the arrival of the bride, various games are played to make her feel comfortable and develop a cordial relation with the relatives and family members of the groom. A lot of fun and frolic is involved in this ceremony and the couple is made to play various games that decide how their post-marriage life would be, and who will take which responsibility in the house.