Weddings in India are all about love, celebration, bonding and union. Every region celebrates this union of two people in different ways but the underlying emphasis lies in joining to individuals in a bond of love and happiness for life.
In the South, weddings are somber and simple with a lot of focus on rituals. Iyer, the Brahmin class in Tamilnadu has various rituals and functions before the actual wedding that last for 2-3 days. We share with you all the pre wedding functions that make an Iyer wedding special.
Vaaang Nischayam (Loukika) – An Iyer wedding proposal is initiated either by the groom or the bride’s family usually through a marriage broker. However, it is important that the horoscopes of the bride and the groom match. If the horoscopes are compatible only then is the wedding confirmed. In this ceremony, Coconut, betel leaf and arecanut are exchanged before elderly people of both families.
Penparthal – Once the horoscopes match, the groom’s family is invited to the bride’s home for the Penparthal or bride viewing. This is the time they formally see the bride who looks ravishing in a traditional south Indian saree with gold ornaments and well braided hair adorned with flowers. Some gifts and sweets are exchanged on this occasion.
Sumangali Prarthanai – This is a small prayer ceremony that both the groom’s and bride’s families do for the ladies of their family who have died as sumangalis which means before their husbands. The blessings of these sumangalis are sought by inviting them for a special pooja and a traditional feast.
Pongi Podal – This is a feast arranged by the female elders of the family. In this traditional feast Pongal Chadam (rice cooked with Dhal and turmeric) is prepared as it is a sign of prosperity along with other dishes that groom or the bride like. This is a kind of farewell feast by the elders to the bride or groom before they start their own family.
Yatra Danam – An Iyer matrimony usually takes place in the bride’s residence hence, the groom’s family needs to travel to the bride’s house. So before starting a Vigneswara Pooja is performed and a dana or offering is made to Brahmins to ward of evils.
Nischaiyathartham – This is the engagement ceremony that usually takes a day prior to the wedding. In this ceremony the bride’s family gives gifts to the groom and his family along with turmeric, betel leaves, nuts and clothes for the groom. The bride’s brother puts a garland around the groom’s neck as a symbol of happiness.The groom’s family also gives ornaments and sarees to the bride.
A priest officiates this ceremony. He writes the lagan patrika in which the date, time and venue of the marriage is written after confirmation from both sides of the family. An aarthi is performed and a coconut is broken, ritual to ward off evil eyes.
A wedding is the binding of two hearts and in India it is the union of two families, a union that lasts forever. It is a time to rejoice and celebrate. So be a part of an Iyer matrimony and relish all their functions celebrated with grand splendor and ritualistic fervor.