Thread: The malyalee nair wedding
November 8th, 2009, 12:59 AM #1
The malyalee nair wedding
Malyalee weddings brings to mind the elaborate lunches that is served and based on that assumption most would mistake a malyalee wedding would be a huge fanfare, but the truth is vastly different. A typical malyalee wedding is very simple and lasts barely a few minutes. You need to be vigilant and watch the thali tying ceremony or you could miss it out completely. The wedding is with little rituals and has lesser religious compulsions and pujas that usually accompany a south Indian wedding. The auspicious months considered for the weddings is usually the month of chingam that is the month of September and people generally avoid the months of midhunam, karkatakam and kanni. However impromptu weddings do take place in these months in the holy temple of guruvayoor the abode of lord guruvayurappan (lord Krishna).
The parents of the respective bride and groom first check out the horoscopes for compatibility and this is a mandatory task not to be taken lightly. Once the horoscopes are checked out and they match well, the next task of selecting the wedding date or the muhurtham is done and then goes on the wedding ceremony with the advice given by the family astrologer.
Nichyam means an agreement and thaambulam means the traditional betel leaf and the nut which is the traditional symbol that accompanies any function. Thus nichyathaambulam means an agreement arrived upon two families to be conjoined in holy matrimony. This is typically a huge platter filled with various fruits most important of which is the banana and betel leaves and nuts and flowers are exchanged between two families to honor the matrimony agreement arrived upon by them. Gifts are exchanged between the boy and the girl. The groom is usually gifted by the bride’s family with a diamond ring to signify the engagement and his attire for the ritual consists of a suit with a pair of shoes given by the bride’s family. In the similar manner the groom’s family provides the bride with a diamond engagement ring and gold ornaments and silk sari with the necessary accessory. The guests are all treated to a sumptuous vegetarian or non vegetarian Malaya lee fare.
The traditional feast is a huge gathering of friends and relatives who have arrived from outstation cities and villages days in advance to participate in this happy occasion. The bride is dressed traditionally in fine silk sari and jewellery and made to sit facing east and then she partakes a five course vegetarian meal along with her family and friends who have come to share in her joy.
Every wedding has rituals some elaborate some simple. The typical malyalee wedding ritual would mean the wedding taking place in the ancestral home of the bride’s family. They are traditionally beautiful villas with wooden workings all around, spacious and filled with vast garden space and a small pond where in the family bathe. Now days it is common for the families of both the bride and groom to select a common venue convenient to both the families.
The wedding attire for the groom is basically simple silk white dhoti with zari border and an angavastram that means a towel type of a garment that can cover his chest and shoulders he wears a single chain of gold with a gold bracelet for his hand and rings complete his attire. It is the bride who is bedecked with jewellery. The friends of the bride dress her up for the big occasion, the hair is embellished with jasmine flowers as jasmine is usually an aroma used for erotic enticement and seduction and also this flower is available in plenty. Her attire would be a two piece white mundu with a gold zari border. Her neck is adorned with necklace made of gold and the upper arm is adorned with bands of gold studded with precious gems, the hand is dressed up with gold bangles of various styles. Gold rings studded with precious gems adorn her fingers and her waist is dressed up in a belt made of gold studded with precious gems called the odiyanam and the ankles are for silver anklets also known as payals in hindi. The forehead is adorned with a a nethi chutti made of gold and precious gems.
The first ritual of the wedding is the welcoming of the groom’s family by the bride family. This is traditionally done by the bride’s father welcoming the groom by washing his feet with scented water and wiping them dry with silk cloth and then applying the sandal paste on the grooms neck and arms and applying a small tilak with the sandal paste on the forehead and welcoming him to the venue. The next step is where the groom hands over the wedding sari of the bride to her father to dress her for the nuptial ceremony it is an off white sari with zari border. Once the bride is dressed in the nuptial attire provided by the groom. Young girls carrying deepam’s or lighted diyas in their hands lead the young couple to the mantapam or the diaz prepared for the nuptial ceremony.
The Veli or the nuptial ceremony is the most sacred ceremony it the final culmination of bringing together two people in holy matrimony. It is an awe filling moment for both the families. The family priest is called upon to lead the couple in offering prayers while vedic mantras are chanted throughout the ritual. The couple offer prayer to the god of fire Agni. Agni being one of the five elements of nature is the witness to this sacred ritual. The groom holds the brides hand and leads her around the sacred fire thrice symbolizing his faith and honor in taking care of her as she is being entrusted to him. This is followed by the groom tying the thali or the mangalsutra around the bride’s neck that signifies that she is now married and thus belongs to another family henceforth. The priest then hands the flower garlands for the couple to exchange and the family and friends witnessing this solemn occasion bless the married couple by showering them with flowers and atchadai that is rice mixed in yellow turmeric. This is then followed by the couple being blessed by the elders and relatives convey their well wishes and gifts are given to them to signify this special occasion.
The malyalee lunch menu:
Traditional malayali marriage fare comprises many compulsory dishes:
White rice sambhar, paruppu neyi pappadam [dhall ghee papad] pulisseri, done with curd base, avail mixed vegetable in coconut base, two to three dry vegetables upperi banana chips, sakkaravaratti upperi banana chunks rolled in jaggery, inji puli, ginger in jaggery and tamarind paste, olan, bland mix of white and red pumpking curry, kalan a mix of raw banana and yam cooked in coconut and pepper paste, pachdi, a curd based raitha, kichdi a tomato in curd raita, there will be atleast two to three payasam kheer, ada pradhaman, rice powdered and cooked in banana leaf and then chopped and added in milk and sugar, paal payasam, rice cooked only in milk and sugar with alittle jaggery in the end, or any fruit payasam like jackfruit payasam made by cooking the fruit in jaggery and milk.
Most communities use vegetables and fruits of the season to add flavor in wedding banquets, papad is a must with vadai.
Post wedding ceremony:
The next ritual after the nuptial ceremony is the welcoming of the bride to her new home, the place of her future. The bride takes the blessings of the all the elders of the family present at the occasion and then she takes the blessings of her parents and takes her leave to join her future family, this is usually a solemn occasion as the brides parents come to terms that their little girl is not going to be staying with them henceforth and she needs to leave them to make her own life with her partner. The bride is then accompanied to the groom’s house. The women of the in laws family take arathi of the newly weds to repel any evil eye being casted on them and then the bride holds a traditional lamp in her hand and enters her new home with the right foot first. The entire house is lit with lamps and a divine aura fills the home as blessings are given and received. This ritual is called kudivep. The in laws give the brides ornaments and sari and other gifts welcoming her to her future home.
all pictures collected from the net to show what I meant, for the recipe you can send in request and I will post all the wedding recipe...sunkan
Last edited by sunkan; November 10th, 2009 at 12:17 AM.
November 8th, 2009, 01:06 AM #2
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wonderful with beautiful pictures. I love traditional food served during wedding.
November 8th, 2009, 08:35 AM #3
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November 8th, 2009, 10:46 AM #4
even i love the spread on a fresh banana leaf and the aroma of dhall and rice and other stuff like sandal wood paste and flowers mmm the entire atmosphere is so charged with aroma that sends you reeling..sunkan
November 8th, 2009, 10:46 AM #5
i have always loved to convey what i want with pictures they stay in mind more i feel..sunkan
November 8th, 2009, 12:51 PM #6
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Sunkan, lovely narration. I love the wedding atmosphere but traditional though.
November 9th, 2009, 03:56 AM #7
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dear sundari,a detailed and interesting writeup.i had never been to south indian wedding but i love the way you follow the traditions.
November 9th, 2009, 01:39 PM #8
dear Sunkan, really a very neat description..! It feels good to know abt the traditions n rituals of other states!! Very informative thread..
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