When I was talking to my Mother’s friend about Malayalee Weddings and customs, this is what she told me. Malayalee weddings are the simplest and most uncomplicated weddings ever. If you walk in five minutes late, you might miss the function for all you know.
Lets take a look at their customs and rituals.
- Nishchyam - The engagement Ceremony: Different communities in Kerala depending on their place of origin have their own engagement ceremonies. Usually engagement happens in the girl’s house. Both families meet and an astrologer is called to choose auspicious dates from a Panchangam ( A book that contains auspicious times and dates, this is like the year book for most communities, including Tamil Brahmins). In a Malayalee engagement ceremony, the boy and the girl need not be present, but off late the customs are changing. An interesting point to be noted here is that, no Thambalam ( plates containing fruits and sweets) are exchanged. After this, a grand Sadya (traditional Malayalee Meal served on a Banana leaf) is served.
Thaleluarieduva - Thala (head), Ari (rice) – eduva (receiving blessings): This is a custom, that happens separately in the girl and boy’s side. This happens either on the day of the wedding or a day before the wedding, depending on the time of Muhurtham (auspicious time). The girl/ boy receives blessings from everybody older than them in their families. They pour raw rice over their heads and the girl/boy in turn touch their feet to be blessed by time. The best part being, even your older cousins are not exempted from this.
Wedding Ceremony: The girls wear a traditional Kasavu Saree (kerala saree) and the boy’s wear a Shirt a
nd Mundu. The stage is decorated with lamps and flowers. There is no priest or fire or homam, unless the function happens in a temple. there is a para – a vessel made of brass and copper filled with nellu (rice grains with husks).
The girl is brought into the hall accompanied by her aunts and sisters, each of them carrying lit lamps in their hands. The boy arrives the same way.
Once they are seated, the boy’s parents will bring a thali (mangalsutra), which is simple gold chain with a leaf like pendant. The boy ties it around the girl’s neck and his sisters help in the process. Then, garlands are exchanged. At this point, the girl’s father holds her hand and gives it to the boy. This symbolises handing over the girl to the boy’s family.
The boy, then holds the girls hand, go around the stage three times, thus signalling the end of the wedding.
They then receive blessings from the oldest members of the family. A grand sadya is served.
PS: The most important feature of a Malayalee wedding is the tonne of gold that they wear. I asked her why they offer so much gold and she has no clue either!
PS1: This is the simplest and no frills wedding ever. I’m considering swapping this for my 2 and 1/2 day Tam-Brahm wedding.