List of major events in our culture of wedding
Here are the details of major events that are gonna happen in our wedding...
The wedding rituals formally begin with prayers offered to ancestors to seek their and God's blessings for the upcoming wedding. This usually takes place in the early morning hours of the day before the wedding day. A sacred yellow thread it tied on the wrists of the bride and the groom. This is followed by the 'palika' ceremony, where nine varieties of grains are sprinkled on the bride and groom, to bless them with prosperity. At the end of the function, an 'aarthi' ceremony is performed.
Janavasam/"maapillai azhaippu" - The Procession
The groom arrives to the wedding venue in a decorated carriage or vehicle. Family and friends of the groom form a procession to the wedding site, often dancing and singing along the route.
The bride may join the groom halfway through the procession. They then make their way to the temple where the groom - "maapillai" - is given a new set of traditional dhoti - "veshti" and shirt - to wear for the following nichayathartham ceremony. Western style suits are also becoming common as the groom's formal wear.
The procession then makes its way back to the mandapam (wedding hall) where the nichayathartham begins.
Nichayathartham - The Engagement Ceremony
The bride's family brings turmeric, betel leaves, nuts and clothes for the groom. The bride's brother then honours the groom by placing a flower garland around his neck. As a symbol of happiness, sugar candy is distributed to all guests. Then, an 'Aarthi' is performed, and a coconut is broken, a ritual believed to ward off evil eyes.
On the "medai" or raised platform, both families sit opposite to each other and the "lagna patrika," or marriage contract is written and read aloud by the 'priest or sastrigal'. The document includes the names of both the families, the names of the bride and groom and the agreement that the marriage is to be conducted and it is signed by both bride's and groom's parents. After this, Thamboolams' (platters of betel nuts, dry fruits, nuts, coconuts, turmeric and 'kumkum') and gifts are exchanged. The cone shaped "parupputhengai" is an important part of all these ceremonies.
The groom is dressed in the traditional "Panchakatcham" veshti. He also holds an umbrella, a fan, a walking stick, and a towel containing dhal and rice tied to his shoulder. He then sets off on a mock pilgrimage to pursue further religious studies, and renounce worldly pursuits. As he steps out of the wedding hall, the bride's father intervenes and advocates for the superiority of married life to an ascetic life. He also promises to give his daughter as companion to face the challenges of life. The groom accepts and returns to the mandapam to get married. The umbrella is to remain with the groom, to remind him in the future of this advice.
Once the groom agrees, the "Maalai Maatral: or exchange of garlands between the bride and the groom, takes place. The bride and groom are lifted to the shoulders of their respective maternal uncles. This is an expression of continuing sibling support to their mothers. The bride and groom attempt to garland each other three times, with both sides trying to dodge each attempt. In the shastras, the exchange of garlands symbolizes their unification, as one soul in two bodies.
The couple are made to sit on the "Oonjal" or swing which is rocked gently. The swing's oscillating motion is a message to the couple that they must stay strong together during the challenges and joys of life. Relatives and friends sing auspicious songs, blessing the couple. They are offered milk and bananas and the ladies from both the families throw coloured rice balls in four directions to ward off evil spirits. This ritual also signifies support of that family and friends during the couple's married life.
The bride sits on the lap of her father. Her hands are lifted upward and placed on the upward turned hands of the groom. Auspicious items like a coconut, betel leaves, and nuts are placed on the hands of the bride.
On the bride's head, a ring made of Darbha of Kusa grass is placed. And over it is placed a yoke. The gold Mangal Sutra or Thali is placed on the aperture of the yoke, and water is poured though the aperture.
The symbolism of the yoke is drawn out of ancient rural life where the only mode of transport for households was the bullock cart. It is supposed to signify that just as a bullock cart cannot run with just one bull; the marriage needs both the bride and groom. Both of them have to face their responsibilities together.
The Vedic concept underlying this ritual is figuratively that in her infancy Soma givers her coolness of the moon. In the next stage of life the Gandharvas gave her playfulness and beauty. And when she becomes a maiden Agni gave her passions.
A new sari, exclusive for the occasion, called the koorai is chosen. The colour of the koorai is 'Arraku' i.e. red, the colour associated with Shakti. This sari is draped around the bride by the sister of the bridegroom, signifying her welcome to the bride. A belt made of reed grass is then tied around the bride's waist. Thanksgiving Vedic hymns follow, to the celestial caretakers of her childhood, the deities of Soma, Gandharva and Agni. Having attained nubility, the girl is now free to be given over to the care of the human—her man.
The bridegroom returns his assurance to the bride's father saying three times that he shall remain forever her companion in joy and sorrow, in this life and life after.
The tying of the Mangal Sutra or Thali takes place at exactly the pre-determined auspicious hour. The bride is seated over a sheaf of grain-layden hay looking eastward on the lap of her father while the bridegroom faces westward. The bridegroom puts the gold Mangal Sutra around the neck of the bride. As he does so the Nadaswaram is played loud and fast so as to muffle any inauspicious sounds at the critical hour. This is called "Getti Melam". At the same time as the Mangal Sutra a turmeric thread is also put around the bride's neck. To this three knots are tied. The first knot is tied by the bridegroom. The other two knots are tied by the groom's sister to make the bride a part of their family. The three knots symbolize Brahma, Vishnu and Rudhra.
Saptapadhi, which literally means seven steps, consists of circumambulating the homam (fire) seven times while reciting mantras (invocations) one made by the bride and another made by the groom with each step.
The meanings of the mantras recited by the groom in each step are as below:
1. May the Lord Narayana, who pervades the entire universe, satisfy your physical hunger by feeding you in response to the first step you are taking.
2. May your second step give you physical strength by the grace of the Lord Narayana.
3. May He follow your third step and help you fulfill your good actions.
4. May He follow your fourth step to bless you with happiness.
5. May He bless you with the wealth of cattle by following you fifth step.
6. May He confer happiness on you during all the six seasons by following your sixth step.
7. By following the seventh step of yours, may He bless you to perform the soma-sacrifice by the worship of the seven Ritwaiks, namely Hotha, Prasttha,Bhrahma-naathasamsi, Botha, Neshta,Acchavahan and Agnidhara.
After completing the seven steps, the groom addresses the bride through certain mantras, the synopsis of which is given here:
"After crossing these seven steps together, we are now eternal companions and are totally committed to love, compassion, fidelity, duty and mutual respect. We shall remain as one, and together we shall truthfully perform all our duties sincerely. We shall remain steadfast and faithful to each other and never desert one another. Unity in thought and action will be our life's mission. Now I am the Sama Veda and you are the Rig Veda. I am the expansive sky and you are the merciful and bountiful earth. I am the mind and thoughts and you the words and expressions. I salute you, the angel of virtues and serenity. Please walk with me and you shall realize all your aspirations, flawless progeny and enormous wealth and health. I welcome you, the goddess of beauty and wisdom with devotion and deep love. Let us live in harmony and attain both bliss and peace."
The marriage is sanctified and complete after Saptapadhi. The couple offers their prostration to the parents and elders prostrate 2 or 4 times. They then take their seat near the fire and pay their respects to the Gods as husband and wife.
The Nalangu starts with the bride and bridegroom being seated opposite each other. They apply turmeric on each other's feet. The bride also takes yellow rice and waves it around her husband's head and throws it away. This is repeated three times and the same is done by the husband. This is believed to ward off evil eyes.
This is followed by wedding games that bring in a light-hearted element into the wedding day and relieve the stress. Traditional games include the newly-weds putting their hands into a small bowl to find a small object with the person finding the object first the winner. Another game consists of rolling a coconut towards each other like a ball.