Rituals followed in the Iyer marriages

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Published: 18th March 2010
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The culture of India has from ages witnessed many religions and customs being practised in the country. Even if it is a Hindu culture, it has many sub- sects, each of which having different festivals and ways of celebrating them also differ according to area or the community. The marriage type and the customs, in the same way, are different from each religion or culture practiced in the country itself, each region or sect has its own way of celebrating this auspicious day in the lives of their loved ones. One of the cultures is Iyer, they are the sub- sects of the Brahmins living in the southern part of the country, and are generally found speaking Tamil.

Iyer marriages are also called in kalyaanam in Tamil. Iyer marriages are the true examples of marriages full of traditional values and age- old religious customs, which distinctively define the culture of Tamil. The marriage customs are complemented with long lasting dancing and singing traditions, which helps in making the environment more entertaining and lively. The Iyer bride and groom are usually found dressed in their Tamil saree and the Iyer grooms wear, silk shirts or kurta- dhoti. Flowers on their head and body flooded with jewellery are few of the points which ae the landmarks for the south- Indian brides.

Some of the rituals followed in the Iyer marriages are:

Vrutham:
To start off the marriage rituals, prayers are offered to the ancestors of the family to seek their blessing for the upcoming wedding alliance. Separate prayers are done at the house of the Iyer bride as well as the groom. This is in most cases practised in the morning hours and is considered as the first day for the marriage ceremonies.

Janavasam:
It is like the baraat in Hindus, the procession which leads to the marriage venue, where the Iyer marriage rituals are to be performed. The Janavasam is accompanied by a lot of relatives and friends dancing and singing along the procession, with the Iyer groom sitting on a horse or on a beautifully decorated car. In most cases, prefer walking in case of short distances and if the distance is long, some carriage or bus is hired.

Nischayathartham
This is followed by the procession, after the groom and his family and relatives reach the mandap or the venue, where the engagement ceremony is performed with the priest reciting the religious scriptures. The family background details of both the bride and the groom are announced in front of the family and the social network, aftr which the dates for the Iyer wedding are decided then and there and marriage alliance is formally announced.

Thaamboolam are exchanged after the announcement, it contains the materials required for muhurtham

Muhurtham:
It is the actual marriage ceremony, which is performed on the second day of the 2-3 days wedding ceremonies. It is supposed to be done in the morning hours of the day decided by the priest, preferably before 11am. It consists of ceremonies like Kashi Yatrai, oonjal ceremony

Then the actual wedding ceremony takes place, where the bride's dad gives away her responsibility to the Iyer groom and ties thirumaangalyam on the neck of the Iyer bride, after which they take seven circles around the sacred fire marking the competence of their wedding ceremony.

After the marriage many games are played like Nalangu, which are the traditional ways of celebrating the alliance. Then the wedding reception is given by the groom's side as a token of celebration from their side with all the south Indian music playing at the back of the halls.


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