Malayalam wedding rituals
Kerala undoubtedly has the most breathtaking scenic beauty with beautiful backwaters and a gorgeous backdrop. And this beautiful state has unique wedding customs too. Here are all the pre-wedding rituals, wedding and post-wedding rituals that make the Kerala Hindu wedding a grand affair and one of a kind.
In this pre-wedding ritual, the Kundlis of the bride and groom are matched by an astrologer to see whether the match is viable or not. And, if the Kundlis are a match, then a Muhurath, which is an auspicious and holy date for the wedding to take place.
This pre-wedding ceremony of the Kerala Hindu wedding is the engagement. Here, both the families make an official announcement of the wedding in front of all the people. This ritual is a traditional engagement ceremony. It is known as the Nischayam and has been a part of the Kerala wedding ceremonies over decades followed by almost all the communities living in the state. This occasion marks the day that two families meet and together, they plan the wedding rituals. The bride and groom horoscopes are matched and there is also the Mothiram Maattal that takes place. This is the official traditional ring. Bridal gifts are exchanged like jewelry and other ornaments.
3. Traditional Party
Before the wedding ceremony, the bride’s family organizes a party for the guests. The traditional party offers a delicious vegetarian meal for the guests to savor. Right before they leave for the main wedding ceremony, the bride and the groom perform the Dakshina Kodukkal. Here they ask for blessings from all the elders of the house. If you translate Dakshina it means blessings of the elders. This ceremony is warm and full of love.
4. Madhuparkam Ritual
In this ritual, when the groom reaches the wedding venue, he and his family members are warmly welcomed and the bride’s father washes the feet of the groom. The groom gives his in-laws a white saree that the bride is supposed to wear during the wedding ceremonies.
All the wedding ceremonies are performed in front of a Veli (holy fire). The couple goes around the Veli three times and then the groom ties a Taali (yellow necklace) around the bride’s neck. After this, the actual Kanyadaanam ritual is done, where the bride’s father hands over his daughter’s hand in the hands-on groom. This signifies that he is handing over the responsibilities of his daughter to him. For a Nair couple, this is the main ceremony. It starts off with the ceremonial welcome for the groom and his family. This is then followed by the bride’s entry in an extravagant way. This makes both the bride and groom feel so special on their special day. After this, the family priest performs the traditional religious ceremony. The father of the bride’s hands over his daughter to her husband. He takes it and places her hand in her to-be husband as a sign that she is now a part of you and together you are one.
This ceremony marks the groom’s capacity to provide for his bride. He gifts her a saree. For the Nair community, this takes place during the Pudamuri ritual.
6. Sparsham Ritual
In this wedding ritual, the groom is made to sit on the floor in a way that he faces the bride and their foreheads touch. The priest chants and asks the bride to put rice in the Veli. After this, the groom puts the bride’s foot on the Ammi (grinding stone) to signify that she is breaking ties with her family and stepping onto a new family.
In this wedding ritual, once all the other rituals are over with, all the guests sit down together to enjoy a grand feast of traditional dishes.
The Saptapadi which is similar to the Saat Phera, are the seven steps. This marks the journey couple are going to begin together. Each step marks a different aspect of being married like love in sickness and health and moves towards hearth and home. The couple circles the fire exactly seven times, hand in hand.
For a catholic Keralite couple, before they make their way to the church, there is a prayer that takes place known as the Sthuthi Cholluka. This is then followed by Gurudakshina which is similar to Dakshina Kodukkal, where they ask the elders for their blessings.
After all the wedding rituals, the couple ascends towards the groom’s residence where the newlyweds are heartily welcomed by the groom’s mother with lit oil lamps. This welcoming ceremony is known as Kudivep.
This is the post-wedding ritual where the bride officially enters her new home for the first time. Unlike other Hindu Vidaai ceremonies, the Griha Pravesh is a happy one. No tears are shed and the bride enters her new home along with her husband in pomp and style. It usually takes place during an auspicious time known as Mahuratam. With a traditional lamp in her hand, she provides light. This act is known as Kudivep. This is one of the most auspicious rituals of Kerala wedding ceremonies.
A) Bridal Attire
Most brides of a Kerala Hindu wedding, keep their bridal attire simple and elegant. The brides adorn a traditional saree and lots of gold jewelry. A Kerala Hindu wedding bride adorns traditional jewelry like the Kasumala, which is a long necklace made by carefully assembling gold coins together. The next piece of jewelry is the Palakkad Mothiram which is a gold necklace typically green in color and often displays designs like mangoes. Another jewelry ornament that a bride wears is the Oddiyanam. An Oddiyanam is a belt that is worn by the brides to keep the saree in place. Jhukis is yet another jewelry piece that is adorned by the brides and it usually displays temple jewelry. To top off the look, Elakkathali is worn by the bride, which is a gold choker.
B) Groom’s Attire
The traditional wedding attire of a Kerala Hindu wedding’s groom screams out appreciation for the colors white and gold. The grooms wear a white Mundu with a zari border, which is the dhoti/lungi along with a matching scarf which is the Melmundu. But, with changing times our Mallu boys are also shifting to other western outfits for their wedding dresses. Men generally pair the Mundu with a Kurta or a white shirt. But, some grooms have even pulled off Sherwanis, formal suits, and even Kurta Pyjamas.
C) Interesting Facts
- The wedding traditions are divided into Hindu, Nair, Christian and Muslim and, each tradition has some roots that are in sync with traditional Kerala.
- Kerala is known for the best mix of traditional and unconventional marriages.
- Monsoon weddings are very famous in this region since it is a favourable climate.
- Several people come from different cities, or countries to celebrate their weddings due to Kerala’s splendid natural beauty.
Every culture has its own unique customs that