India is a land of diversity, which confides in itself, a number of religions, cultures and colors. The country offers a variety in everything from food to clothing style, religions to cultures, languages to colors and many others. It is popular across the world because of its variant features and therefore attracts tourists from around the globe. Cultures, traditions, rituals practiced in India are very unique and every culture has something different to offer. The festivals and the customs add vivacity in the lives of the people and they celebrate each festival with full enthusiasm. One of the functions, which are celebrated with great positivity and sacredness, is matrimonies in the family. Due to the presence of different cultures, the country also witnesses a number of matrimony types. One of the matrimonial practices in India is Tamil Matrimony, which is celebrated among the people of Tamil origin.
Marriage brings together two people from different backgrounds and binds them in a lifelong bond. The ceremonies and the rituals followed in the Tamil Matrimony are based on the vision to make the couple understand the meaning of their sacred knot. This is the basic fact, which differentiates any Indian marriage from marriages across the world. In India, marriage is a lifelong affair, a commitment which the bride and groom makes to each other for being together till the time of their death. Brides are to be considered as ‘ardhangini' of her husband, which means half the part of his soul, also referred as one soul, two bodies.
Tamil matrimonies are known to be very beautiful, yet simple. They do not believe in the concept of flashy and loud weddings. Tamil matrimonial practice is famous as a ceremony, where people are highly considerate about the accuracy of the methodologies in which wedding rituals are performed. Like all other marriages, relatives from far and near are invited in a Tamil matrimony to become a part of the bride and groom's happiness. A number of rituals and functions mark the completion of the wedding ceremony of Tamilians. Below is a brief description of the ceremonies practiced in Tamil matrimony.
A Tamil Matrimony begins with a ritual called Panda Kaal Muhurtham. In this the closest relatives of the Bride and the Groom gather at a place to pray for a successful and an uninterrupted wedding of their children. This ceremony commences the preparations for wedding, after which all the shopping and other preparations are made.
Few days before the actual Tamil matrimony, the groom is invited by the Tamil bride's family where a traditional arti is recited at the home of the bride. The groom is presented with various sweets, and he is treated lavishly by the bride's family. Rose water is sprinkled on him and the custom of breaking the coconut is also performed to keep the couple away from all the evils. A traditional prayer known as ‘Vratham' is also carried out before the Tamil matrimony.
A ritual called Pallikai Thellichal is performed where sacred water is showered over the nine clay pots which are filled with various grain types. This process is carried out by the married women of the family. After one day, these pots are put in the pond so that the Tamil couple gets to earn the blessings and good wishes from the fishes which eat the different grains filled in the pots. ‘Naandi' is also practiced wherein gifts are distributed to some Brahmins, which is done to again seek blessings from sacred souls.
Nicchiyadharatham and Lagna Pathirigai' i.e. engagement and Ganesh Pooja are performed. Both the ceremonies are carried out in front of a priest. On the final day of Tamil matrimony oil and turmeric paste is applied on the body of the bride and groom after which they are made to take an auspicious bath known as Mangala Snaanam. Before meeting his Bride on the day of wedding, the Tamil groom plays an act, where he acts like going to Kashi yatra. It forms a part of the ritual where the bride's father makes a request to him for not going for Kashi yatra and gives a promise to tie the wedding knot of his daughter with him.
The Tamil bride and groom, then performs the most famous custom, i.e., exchanging garlands. After this, ceremonies like Onjhal, Kanyadaanam and saptapadi are practiced, marking the completion of the Tamil matrimony.