The Tamil community is considered to be a group of people who lead their lives in simplicity yet they think high. Similarly Tamilian weddings are very simple yet traditional with a lot of ceremonies and rituals. They do not conduct weddings extravagantly because they have very few guests of which most are close relatives. Every ritual is performed with utmost care and perfection as the Tamilians have high regard for their matrimony and consider this ceremony auspicious. Like most other Indian weddings the Tamil weddings involve a lot of customs as well as rituals. In order to fix the date of the ceremony one needs to consult the Hindu calendar. The months of Aashad which extends from July 15th to August 15th, Bhadrapad which extends from September 15 to October 15 and shunya which extends from December 15 through January 15 are not chosen for weddings because these months are considered inauspicious.
It is customary to seek the blessings of the family deity just before the wedding preparations start so as to ensure a smooth and successful wedding. The deity is usually personified by a bamboo pole and the families of the bride and the groom pray to this deity. This ritual is usually held just a day before the wedding. This is called the Panda Kaal Muhurtham.
Following the Panda Kaal Muhurtham is a ritual that involves receiving the groom. The grooms family is received with a lot of respect which involves sprinkling of rose-water on the groom along with offering a tray of flowers, fruits and pan supari. The Aarti is performed by anyone of the bride’s family members in order to keep away evil spirits. Finally a coconut is broken on the ground as a custom.
The next ritual involves filling of clay pots with grains. Each pot is filled with a different type of grain and married women from both sides sprinkle the pots with water. This is done just a day before the wedding so that the grains sprout on the wedding day. These pots are then left to sink in a pond where the fish can feed on the grains and this is considered to be a blessing. This ritual is called Pallikai Thellichal.
The Naandi involves inviting of some Brahmins who are considered to represent ancestral members of the bride and groom. Their blessings are sought after once they are provided with sweets as well as gifts.
Another custom that is rarely practiced these days is the Jaanavaasam. A Procession escorts the groom to the venue and this procession consists of a joyous group of family and friends. The procession also consists of musicians playing wedding music. Sometimes the occasion is also celebrated using fireworks. Once the party reaches the wedding venue the bride’s brother garlands the groom and receives him.
After the groom is received the Ganesha pooja is performed by the bride’s parents in the presence of a priest. The bride also participates in the ceremony and is gifted a sari by her in-laws. Arthi is performed for her and a flower garland is tied around her waist. This ceremony is called Nicchiyadharatham.
After Nicchiyadharatham the wedding invitation is read out formally by the priest and this is called the Lagna Pathirigai followed by a huge and sumptuous dinner.
The wedding rituals include Mangala Snaanam which is the auspicious bath of the bride and groom, then the Kashi Yatra after which the exchange of Garlands take place followed by Kanyadaanam, Muhurtum and Saptapadi.