What Happens in a Tamil Brahmin Wedding and how long are the weddings?
The wedding rituals last up to 3-5 days with a lot of traditions and pre-post wedding rituals. The ladies wear colourful silk sarees with flowers and gold jewelry, while the men wear Dhoti ( a loose piece of clothing covering their lower body). Here we will be talking about the important wedding rituals like Kashi Yatra, Kanyadhaanam & Mangalya Dharanam that happen only at these weddings. There are many other Rituals and customs that happen and it is hard to explain them over a single post because every ritual has a meaning and story behind it.
The Groom takes part in this ceremony. According to traditions, mankind has 4 stages ( ashrams) of life. The first stage is Brahmacharya where the brahmin male devotes his time to education. The second stage is the Grihastha where he gets married. The third stage is the Vanaprastha where he is ready to face the world. The fourth or last stage is Sannyasa. He leaves all his worldly pleasures and leads a life of celibacy. In this stage, he attains salvation and reaches the almighty. The Kashi Yatra ritual dictates the time between Brahmacharya and Sannyasa stages.
On the day of the wedding, the bride and the groom take a holy bath & are all set to tie the knot. According to tradition, the groom has to pretend like he is leaving for Kashi (a holy place in India) to become a Sanyasi (It’s more like a monk, sanyasis don’t marry). In this ritual, the groom carries a bamboo fan, an umbrella, a walking stick, a ‘grantha’ (like the holy book, Bhagavad Gita), wears new slippers and sets out to go to Kashi. The bride’s father convinces him not to go to Kashi. He offers to give his daughter in marriage to him so that he can return. The groom agrees and returns for further rituals.
In Kanyadhaanam, the bride is given away as a gift in marriage to the bridegroom. Before the ritual, both bride and groom go into the mandap together to start the wedding. The father of the bride washes the feet of the groom. The mother of the bride applies kajal ( more like eyeliner but not using the liner) in the groom’s eye as a ritual. During the auspicious time, the hand of the bride is held by the father and given to the groom. After the ritual, the bride is handed over a nine-yard saree as a gift from the groom’s family. The Bride changes into the nine-yard saree called the Madisaaru and she has to sit on her Father’s lap.
A ring is made of kusa. The sacred Dharbha or Panic grass is placed over the bride. A yoke is placed over it as well. The gold Mangal Sutra called Thali is placed right on top of it. The Priests chant Vedic Mantras at the same time pray to God to bestow happy and prosperous married life. They also advise the bride to offer herself fully to her husband. Having a daughter is very prosperous. Handing her over to her husband is one of the highest forms of donation possible. Furthermore, this is one of the reasons why Kanyadaan is one of the most emotional rituals at a wedding. It invokes emotions for both parents and the bride.
Mangalya Dharanam in a Tamil Brahmin Wedding
In a Tamil Brahmin Wedding, after Kanyadhaanam comes Mangalya Dharanam. It’s the most precious moment in one’s life. The groom ties the Mangalya sutra (It is a necklace) around the bride’s neck as she sits on her dad’s lap with prayers blessing them to live hundred years. Furthermore, for a few days after the wedding, the couple perform many more rituals and customs.
The Photos are from a Tamil Brahmin Wedding we photographed recently.
Lastly, did we miss any details on the rituals? Let us know by commenting below.