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Home » Marriage Rituals in India » Tamil Marriage Rituals

Tamil Marriage Rituals

Tamil Marriage Rituals

A Tamil marriage ceremony is held over two days and is generally an occasion for all the near and distant relatives to come together. The Tamil community's belief in simple living is reflected in their marriage rituals too, which are holistic in nature. According to rituals, a Tamil wedding cant be held in the months of Aashad (July 15th to August 15th), Bhadrapad (September 15th to October 15th) and Shunya (December 15th to January 15th), as they are considered inauspicious as well as Tuesdays and Saturdays. The Naathaswaram and the Melam are the two musical instruments, commonly found in Tamil Nadu that play an important role in all the Tamil marriage rituals.


Finalizing the marriage agreement
Once the match is finalized, an auspicious day is chosen to draw up the marriage agreement which is then placed on a plate full of bananas, coconuts and betel leaf. To mark the occasion, the girls is gifted a silk sari while the boy is also given cash or clothes by their respective in-laws.

Paalikali Thalippu/Karappu
Performed by the girl's family, this ritual involves decorating seven clay pots with sandalwood paste and kumkum powder, which are then filled with curd and nine types of grains nava dhaanyam. Later they are watered by five or seven married ladies from both sides who are then presented with gifts. Next day, they are thrown in a pond in the fond hope that if any fish eats the grains that would have sprouted by now, then it would bless the couple.

Sumangali Prarthanai
Women who pass away before their husband are considered lucky and called Sumangali. This ritual involves praying to all the sumangalis to ensure that the would-be bride should also be blessed with such a fate and organizing a feast for married women and gifting them saris.

This is a bathing ritual performed separately at the girl and boy's house where they are anointed with scented oils after which they are not supposed to leave their homes till the marriage.

Receiving the Groom and Family
The groom's wedding entourage arrives a day before the wedding and is received amidst much celebration with a tray containing offerings of flowers, paan supari, fruits and mishri. The groom is specially welcomed by being speinkled with rose water and fed with sweets by the bride's mother.

Nandi Devata Pooja
The Nandi Devta Puja is performed by five Sumangalis after which they present the couple with gifts of cloth.

Navgraha Pooja
This is performed to propitiate the nine astral planets that are said to rule over a persons' destiny.

The Vrithim ceremony entails tying of the holy thread around her wrist while the groom prepares himself for his impending marriage and other responsibilities.

Naandi Shraartham
As a symbol of the souls of the ancestors of both sides, eight or ten Brahmins are invited. The two families seek their blessings and honor them with gifts of paan-supari, fruits, flowers, coconuts, sweets and dhoti-angavastram (clothes).

Janavasanam refers to the formal betrothal where the groom is first brought to the venue amongst lot os music and dance and is received by the bride's family with 5 kinds of guests.

The bride's parents perform a Ganesh Puja after which the girl comes and sits out. She is applied a tilak of chandan and kumkum and gifted a new sari by her the groom's family even as the pallav of the sari she is wearing is filled with fruits, paan supari, turmeric, kumkum, coconut and flowers.


Mangalasnanam refers to the ceremonial bathing at an auspicious hour early in the morning of the wedding for the bride and the groom together where a aarti is performed by the ladies of the house. Then the bride and the groom go to their respective homes to bathe and dress.

Gauri Pooja
After bathing and dressing up, the bride prays privately to Gauriamma.

Kaasi Yatra
During this ritual, the groom pretends to leave for Kashi, a pilgrimage center to devote himself to God and a life of prayer. He carries a walking stick and other meagre essentials with him to imply that he is not interested in becoming a householder. The girl's father intervenes and requests him to accept his daughter as his life partner and to fulfill his responsibilities as a householder The groom relents and is taken to the marriage venue.

Pada Pooja
The bride's mother washes the groom's feet on his return. Then she calls for her daughter who is escorted to the mandap by her maternal uncle.

Tamil Marriage Rituals

The groom is led to the marriage mandap where he and bride exchange one of their garlands thrice to symbolize their unification. Then they are seated on a swing and offered milk and bananas by the elder ladies of the house who also throw colored rice balls in four directions to ward off the evil spirits. Then as they go back to the mandap, the father of the bride performs the ritual of Kanyadan and hands over his daughter to the groom who gratefully accepts the 'daan'. Then the groom ties a piece of string attached to turmeric around his waist and the bride's wrist after which she receives a new sari from the groom. As she leaves the mandap to change into her new sari, the 'mangalsutra' is blessed by all the elder of the family which the groom them places around his bride's neck. The marriage finally culminates when the couple take sevens steps together. The couple then goes out the marriage venue so that they can spot the Pole Star and the star of Arundhati. On coming back to the mandap, the bride makes offerings of parched rice grains in to fire after which the groom puts on toe rings on his bride's right feet. Then the couple drinks Panaham, a traditional beverage made with jaggery, cardamom and black pepper in water.


Nagoli Vasthra
This ritual involves the presenting the groom with a suitcase, new clothes, and a diamond ring

Grihapravesh marks the entry of the new bride in her husband's home where she is welcomed with an aarti after which she enters the house by tipping over a jar filled with rice.

Sambandhi Virandh
This involves the exchange of gifts between the bride and the groom's families.

This ritual is marked by the sister of the groom presenting a gift to her new sister-in-law after which the couple indulges in traditional wedding games.

The reception is hosted by the groom's family where the new bride gets the chance to be acquainted with family and friends.

Bridal Night
On the wedding night, the couple is presented with an idol of Krishna by the bride's mother as well as gifts. As they come out next morning, women of the house sing songs.

The family of the bride prepares an elaborate meal for the groom's party. They also pack food for the bride's new home (Kattusadam). A relative accompanies the bride as a chaperone, to her matrimonial home and comes back with gifts from the groom's family.

Sadva pooja
In the groom's house the next day, the bride serves the first spoon of "payasam" to women assembled for a Sadva pooja.

Sumangali Prarthanai
This is similar to the ritual held before the wedding involving married women but the only difference is that it is held in the bride's new home now.

Maruvidu Varudal
This marks the visit of the newlyweds to the bride's parents who shower the couple with more gifts.

Nikhil Bhide-The Wedding Planner is based in Mumbai, and offers wedding planning services for all of India, with a special focus on Mumbai and Goa.

Nikhil Bhide- The Wedding Planner offers information on Tamil Marriage Rituals and online booking for wedding planning services.

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