Weddings are really special occasions for every couple and are truly an extravagant affair that is celebrated with a great pomp and show. However, weddings down the South are quite different from the North-Indian weddings since they are known for their simplicity and adherence to age-old customs and traditions.
South-Indian weddings also known as ‘Kalyanam’ surely incorporate lots of fun and enjoyment, however, lay more emphasis to the traditional rituals without which the marriage will most definitely be deemed incomplete.
Through this blog, we will familiarize you with the complete guide to organizing a South-Indian wedding.
Guide to Organizing a South-Indian Wedding
We will now bring forth all the major rituals and customs that comprise a South-Indian wedding:
We will first go through the pre-wedding rituals:
1. Nakshatra Porutham: This involves matching the horoscopes as per the Vedic guidelines to find the perfect match for the boy/girl. Horoscope or Nakshatra matching is given the utmost importance in South-Indian weddings and the horoscope matching determines several factors such wedding date, wedding muhurtha and other rituals.
2. Marriage Agreement: This ritual involves holding a meeting at the groom’s place wherein the two sides exchange the marriage agreements once the marriage is fixed. This ritual involves the exchange of marriage agreements by putting it on a platter comprising betel leaves, betel nuts, a coconut and a bunch of bananas. The ritual also involves an exchange of gifts between the families.
3. Panda Kaal Muhurtham: This ritual is jointly performed by the bride’s and the groom’s families a day prior to the wedding. The two families pay a visit to a temple or hold a special puja at one of the homes to seek the blessings of the Almighty and pray for the smooth progression of the wedding without any obstacles.
4. Sumangali Prarthanai: This is a special puja mainly centered towards the Sumangalis or married women who participate in the different wedding rituals. The married women get decked up in traditional nine-yard Madisar sarees and attend the puja in odd numbered groups. Upon completion of the puja, the bride takes blessings from each Sumangali and gifts each woman a special item such as a saree or jewelry and also feeds them lunch.
5. Vrutham: This ritual is performed at the groom’s and the bride’s place on the early morning of the day prior to the wedding. In this ritual, a sacred thread, colored yellow with turmeric is tied around the bride’s and the groom’s waists and is believed to safeguard the couple from evil energies.
6. Naandi Shraddham: In this ritual, the groom’s family pays a visit to the bride’s home/wedding venue on the morning of the day prior to wedding wherein they are welcomed with a tray full of savors, betel leaves, betel nuts and fruits by the bride’s family. The bride’s family welcomes the groom with a shower of rosewater, puts a garland around his neck and applies a spot of sandalwood and vermillion paste on his forehead. After welcoming the groom’s family, ten Brahmins are invited to conduct a ritual that offers appeasement to the families’ departed ancestors. The Brahmins are fed with lunch after which they shower their blessings on the couple.
7. Nishchayathram: This symbolizes a formal engagement ceremony and commences with a puja to Lord Ganesh at the bride’s place. The groom’s family arrives at the bride’s place. In this ritual, both the bride and the groom are gifted some outfit and jewelry by their in-laws. A spot of sandalwood paste and vermillion is applied on the bride’s and the groom’s forehead, a floral garland is tied around the bride’s waist, their respective in-laws perform an aarti of the bride and groom and the married women from both sides fill up the free end of the bride’s attire with coconut, fruits, betel nuts, betel leaves, etc. The bride and groom are asked to dress up in new clothes after which an exchange of rings takes place between the couple.
8. Lagna Pathirikai: This ritual involves the verbal announcement of the marriage date and the precise marriage timing by the family priests in front of the bride’s and the groom’s family members after which the lagnapatrikai is signed by the heads of the two families that is followed by an exchange of gifts between the families.
Wedding Day Rituals
1. Mangala Snanam: This ritual is performed at the crack of the dawn in both the bride’s and the groom’s places. A paste of turmeric, oil, sandalwood, and kumkum is applied to the face, hands, and feet of the bride and the groom by their close relatives and family members following which they take a purifying bath in holy water to cleanse their body and soul before proceeding to get ready for the wedding.
2. Gauri Puja: This ritual is performed by the bride wherein she offers her prayers to the Goddess Gauri who symbolizes purity, austerity, and virtue. The bride performs a short puja to the Gauri idol after getting ready for the wedding seeking her blessings and wishing for a happy married life ahead.
3. Kashi Yathra: This ritual is performed once the groom’s family arrives at the wedding venue. In this ritual, the groom pretends to renounce all worldly attachments and going away a holy pilgrimage to Kashi. Some bare essentials such as an umbrella, walking sticks, slippers, and food items are provided to the groom for his journey as a part of the ritual. The bride’s father intercepts the groom outside the venue, persuades him to get married and promises to give his daughter to him in marriage following which the groom accepts the proposal and returns to the venue to get married.
4. Pada Puja: In this ritual, the bride’s mother washes the groom’s feet with holy water, sandalwood, milk, and kumkum as the groom arrives at the wedding mandap and his feet are then wiped dry with flower petals after which the bride is called into the mandap.
5. Maalai Maatral: This involves the exchange of flower garlands between the couple to begin their holy union and is repeated three times amid much playfulness.
6. Oonjal: In this ritual, the couple is made to sit on a swing that is rocked gently and the women of the family sing Oonjal Pattu songs while surrounding the swing. The couple is fed with milk and bananas by the elders of the family and colored rice balls are thrown around the couple to ward off evil energies.
7. Kanyadanam: This is similar to the kanyadan ceremony of the North-Indian weddings wherein the bride’s father hands over his daughter to the groom for eternity and requests him to take care of his daughter for the rest of the life. As a part of this ritual, the end of the bride’s outfit is tied to the end of the groom’s outfit and their hands are tied with a sacred thread to seal their union.
8. Muhurtham: This marks the end of the wedding rituals. The groom’s parents present the bride with a nine-yard silk saree that is draped around the bride’s shoulders while the groom applies kumkum/sindoor/vermillion to her hair parting. The groom is also required to tie the Thaali or a mangalsutra around the bride’s neck as a part of this ritual.
9. Saptapadi: As a part of this ritual, the bride and the groom take seven rounds around the sacred fire while Vedic mantras are enchanted by the priests that outline the seven sacred vows of marriage. This ritual symbolizes the beginning of the couple’s journey as husband and wife. As a part of this ritual, the groom holds the bride’s left toe as she steps over a grindstone that symbolizes the solidity of their union.
1. Sammandhi Maryathai: This ritual involves the exchange of gifts between the two families as a token of love and appreciation. The bride gets ready to leave her paternal home and bids an emotional goodbye to her parents and relatives.
2. Paaladaanam: This is a ritual that is performed before the bride leaves her paternal home. As a part of this ritual, the couple lies down to seek the blessings of their parents and elders after which the groom escorts the bride to his home.
3. Grihapravesham: Once the bride reaches the groom’s place, she is given a warm and celebratory welcome by her mother-in-law who performs a small aarti and escorts her inside the house where she is led to seek the blessings of the family deity first.
4. Valeyadal: This ritual involves the formal introduction of the bride to the groom’s family members who offer her gifts and numerous funny wedding games are played to break the ice between the bride and the groom.
5. Maruvidu Varudal: As a part of this ritual, the couple visits the bride’s paternal home three days after the wedding wherein they are welcomed with great enthusiasm. The couple spends a day at the bride’s home and the bride’s parents bestow them with gifts, clothes, and jewelry on their return/departure. This ritual marks the end of all formal wedding celebrations.
Conclusion: We hope that going through this blog will definitely familiarize you with the complete guide to hosting a South-Indian wedding. If you plan to hire event organizers then call Event Management Companies in Delhi who are best in planning South-Indian weddings which will make you memorable.