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
PRE WEDDING TAMIL RITUALS
Receiving the Groom and Family
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
WEDDING DAY TAMIL RITUALS
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
After bathing and dressing up, the bride prays privately
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
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.
THE TAMIL WEDDING
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.
POST WEDDING TAMIL RITUALS
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
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.
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
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.
In the groom's house the next day, the bride serves
the first spoon of "payasam" to women assembled
for a Sadva pooja.
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.
This marks the visit of the newlyweds to the bride's
parents who shower the couple with more gifts.
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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
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