Malayalee weddings are short and simple contradicting the common statement which usually describes Indian weddings as – “Big Fat Indian Weddings”. Malayalee weddings are a true delight to the eyes and very impressive.
Pre Wedding Rituals
Muhurtham: The first ritual is to match the horoscope of the bride and the groom and to fix on an auspicious time for the engagement and for the wedding known as muhurtham based on the horoscope. This is usually done by a family astrologer.
Nischayam: This is the engagement ceremony and usually takes place at the bride’s home. This is a small affair and takes place amidst family members and close relatives. This ceremony, formally confirms the marriage. The couple exchange rings during this ceremony and the ceremony is followed by a lavish feast with traditional mouthwatering delicacies.
Traditional feast and visit to temple: This ritual takes place a day prior to the wedding where traditional food is served to all guests at the bride’s home. The bride has to sit facing the East and is also served a five course vegetarian fare. Post this the bride is accompanied by her family to a nearby temple where she offers prayers to the god and seeks blessings from all the elders present. These rituals are similarly conducted at the groom’s home too.
Seeking Blessings: Before arriving at the venue, the bride and the groom have to seek blessings from all the elders at their respective homes. The bride’s friends assist her in getting ready. The bride usually wears a two piece saree known as a set saree.
Her hair is adorned with fresh jasmine flowers and wears a lot or gold ornaments. The groom on the other hand is dressed in a simple dhoti and a plain white silk shirt. Malayalee grooms also wear a lot of gold jewellery like rings, bracelets and chains.
Welcoming the Groom: The groom is welcomed by the bride’s family to the beats of traditional music. The music is played as a gesture of welcoming the groom and his family. The bride’s brother welcomes the groom by washing his feet at the doorstep. The groom responds to this gesture by gifting the brother something usually made of gold. There after the groom proceeds to the mandap accompanied by his relatives. He sits next to his bride in the mandap who is already present there after making three rounds around the mandap.
Wedding Ceremony: The wedding ceremony is called veil. This is conducted by the priest. The groom ties a mangalsutra known as “thaali” in Malayalam round the bride’s neck during the muhurtham. The couple then exchanges garlands and this ritual is followed by Kanyadaan. This ritual is conducted by the bride’s father. The father of the bride places the bride’s hand over the groom’s hand. This signifies that he has now handed his daughter over to the groom. The couple then circles the mandap thrice and the groom then applies vermillion on the bride’s forehead at the parting of her hair. The bride then applies sandalwood paste on the groom’s forehead and the couple seek blessing from their parents. The wedding ceremony is followed by a lavish meal hosted by the bride’s family.
Post Wedding Rituals
Reception: This is usually hosted by the groom’s family. The bride is introduced to friends and extended family members at the reception.
Grihapravesham: This ritual marks the entry of the bride in her new house. The bride is welcomed by the maternal sister of the groom. She welcomes her with an aarti performed using a traditional lamp which she then hands over to the bride. The bride walks into her new house holding the burning lamp in her hand. The bride and groom are then offered a mixture of sweetened milk and banana.
Visiting the bride’s home: A day after the wedding the bride and the groom along with a few of the groom’s relatives, visit the bride’s home. A lavish feast is arranged for them. The bride and the groom then pay a visit to both their close relatives to formally introduce each other.
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