By Jawad Akhta
Vanniyar matrimony marriages are mostly fixed by the word of mouth where friends and relatives propose prospective grooms or brides for the family. This religion has also opened up its doors to modern ways of marriages such as looking at Telugu matrimony websites and accepting love marriages. When this community decides to celebrate their love in a magnificent way they pamper themselves in a beautiful wedding affair that is quite elaborate and rich in heritage and culture. Marriage ceremonies are typically conducted by a Brahmin or by an Oduvar.
Here are few common customs prevalent at a vanniyar matrimony wedding:
This particular ceremony takes place at the brides place and the groom comes with his relatives and places a thamboolam in the presence of the head of the family. It contains propitious items such as jewels, money, milk, flowers, coconut and Vethilaipak. This is then given to the bride's mother and the girl's hand is asked for marriage.
Special pots for the marriage:
In the good olden day when marriage ceremonies used to last for a longer time, the bride would visit the groom's house just a day before the marriage with a woman of the pottery caste along with pots that were specially made for their marriage.
Decorating the Marriage Dais:
The dais is decorated delicately with ornamental lights and promising things like pots, a milk post with a handle of a plough, a pot with a light (Kuda Viakku) and many more.
This ceremony is conducted separately for both the groom as well as the bride and they are seated on a wooden plank and 5 women smear oil and grass on their skin. They perform aarti to ward off all the evil that may be hovering around the bride's or groom's life. And when they head for a bath, five small cakes are placed on their body as a ritual.
Before the bride and groom get ready for the ceremony they need to make three rounds of the dais. They offer pongal to ancestors, house gods and villagers in five pots during the ceremony.
Once the couple has dressed up and arrived, the priest ties a sacred thread (Kanganam) around the wrists of the couple.
Tying the Thali:
The thread or the thali is passed on to the people who are present so that the couple can get their blessings and then later the groom ties it on the bride's neck. The priest then chants holy versus and there is music of the conch and flute.
Tying the Pattam:
The couples then exchange their seats and their clothes are tied together. A silver or gold plate is tied around their forehead which is known as pattam.
This usually is the conclusion of the marriage ceremony when both the bride and the groom go round taking 3 rounds of dais and milk post.
In the modern times these rituals are modified as per the family's convenience and belief.
Jawad is a web enthusiast and a writer. Jawad has afforded his articles and write-ups autonomously and through various online forums.
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