Tamil marriage and its cultures

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Published: 15th February 2010
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India as a country signifies oneness; it is the only place in the world with more than six religions, number of languages, diverse cultures and their values. Tourists find India one of the most interesting and contented places to visit because of its varied cultures, monuments, literature, traditions and the options available to explore. It is the country, where you get to see different variety of people, speaking different languages and following varied practices in every state you enter.

It is the only country where the culture of joint family is still practiced and valued. Guests are always treated with due respects and are helped in every manner possible, the best example of which can be seen in any Indian marriage. People from all walks of life come and live together, you get to see different religions living in the same region. Festivals of any religion or state are properly respected and celebrated all over the country.

Also one aspect which differentiates us from the rest is the marriage culture followed in India. Marriages are believed to be an affair of life long commitment in India, here the Brides are considered as the 'ardhangini' of the groom, i.e. half part of the body. Unlike foreign countries, the people of India do not believe in divorce, they make every possible effort to lead a happily married life.

Indian marriages are famous for their functions and celebrations. But unlike all other religions practiced in India, Tamilians believe in simple and a sober marriage. Their marriages are not a very extravagant and flashy event. Because they are very particular about all the rituals and customs to be performed in the marriage, all the distant relatives are invited to bless the Tamil Bride and Groom for their future lives and the marriage is held over a large scale.

The Tamil Matrimony starts with a ceremony called Panda Kaal Muhurtham, in which both the families of Bride and the Groom come together to pray to the God for an uninterrupted marriage ceremony. In between various preparations are made at the respective houses of the Bride and the Groom. Shopping for new clothes, ornaments, gifts, furniture, are done and cards are distributed among the relatives.

Few days before the marriage, the groom is welcomed by the bride's family with the recitation of a traditional 'arti' at the house of the bride. The groom is treated with sweets, sprinkled with rose water on him and a coconut is also broken to way off all the evils. A pooja called 'Vratham' is also performed before marriage.

A ceremony called Pallikai Thellichal is celebrated wherein water is sprinkled on the nine clay pots filled with different types of grains. This is done by married women and after a day, the pots are immersed in the pond so that the couple gets the blessings of the fishes that eat the grains filled in them. A ritual called 'Naandi' is performed after that, in which gifts are given to few Brahmins to seek their blessing for the Tamil Bride and groom.

Nicchiyadharatham i.e. engagement of the Tamil couple is done before marriage, where they the bride and the groom exchange rings. 'Lagna Pathirigai' follows the engagement ceremony, in this; a priest performs the Ganesh Puja and reads out a formal invitation loudly to the people to make them aware about the date fixed for the marriage.

Then comes the final day, the marriage day, Bride and groom are applied with oil and turmeric on their body after which they take an auspicious bath called Mangala Snaanam.

Before meeting the Bride on the wedding day, the Tamil groom pretends to go for Kashi yatra, a ritual in which the father of the Tamilian Bride requests him not to go for Kashi yatra and promises to marry his daughter with him.

Then the Bride and the Groom exchanges garlands, followed by Oonjal, where the Tamilian couple is made to sit on swing, and are served with banana and milk. To prevent the couple from the evil powers, elders circle rice bowls around them along with the reciting of traditional songs. Before Muhurtum, Kanyadaanam takes place, where the Brides father gives the responsibility of his daughter to the Tamil groom. Then the groom ties mangalsutra and applies vermillion to the bride in which the bride wears a nine- yard saree given by the groom's parents. After which the auspicious ritual of saptapadi is performed where the Tamil bride and groom takes seven round around the sacred fire and the priest recites spiritual prayers simultaneously.

After the marriage the Bride and the grooms congratulates each other and exchanges gifts with the respective family members and the bride leaves her maternal home and heads towards the grooms house into a new life.

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