Malayalee Wedding is a simple and joyful affair. Participation of friends and relatives in the various rituals adds even more joy to the celebrations.
Here is a short and simple description to the various pre-wedding customs of a Malayalee wedding.
- Muhurtham: A traditional Malyalee Wedding is initiated with exchanging and matching of horoscopes by the parents of the prospective bride and the groom. Muhurtham or the auspicious date for wedding is then finalized in consultation with the astrologers.
- Nischayam or Engagement : Nischayam or the engagement ceremony as it is popularly called is the fixed by the elders to announce the wedding day to their family and friends. The prospective bride and the groom are not present on this occasion.
- Traditional Feast : As a part of the tradition, the day before the wedding, a customary dinner is served at the bride's residence. The bride is seated facing the east and has a traditional five-course vegetarian meal with her family.
Rituals of a Malayalee Wedding are quite similar to what is seen in other Hindu weddings. However, there are some marked regional differences, which makes it even more interesting.
- Madhuparkam : The actual Malayalee Wedding is brief and does not have any religious compulsions. The bride may wear the traditional two piece sari called Mundu, or any other sari of her choice. She is adorned with flowers and jewelry. The bridegroom clad in a dhoti and angavastram arrives at the bride's ancestral home, where the marriage ceremony takes place in a northwestern room. The bride's father washes the groom's feet and welcomes him. The groom then gives him the off white sari that has to be worn by the bride for the nuptials.
- Veli : The Veli or the nuptial ceremony is performed around the agni or fire just as in other Hindu weddings. In a Malayalee Wedding, the bride and the groom circle the sacred fire thrice, after which the groom ties the 'Taali', which is strung on a yellow thread around the neck of the bride. Thereafter, the bride's father gives her hand to the groom in a ceremony called Kanyadaanam or Penkoda.
- Sparsham : After the Kanyadaanam, Sparsham takes place. The unique tradition symbolizes the meeting of minds. Carrying out the age-old custom, the groom sits in front of the bride and tilts his head backwards, to touch her forehead. After this the girl offers Laja (puffed rice) to the fire to the chant of various mantras. Her palms are placed in her husband's hands and she performs the homan. After this, the groom lifts the bride's foot and places it on the Ammi (grinding stone) signifying breaking of ties from her old family. The groom then moves the bride's foot forward seven times with his hand symbolizing her entry into his family.
Given here is a short description to some typical post-wedding customs of a Malayalee Wedding.
- Grihapravesh : Immediately after the wedding, an elaborate meal is served. It consists of various vegetarian dishes. After this the couple leave for the groom's house, preceded by lamps in what is called Kudivep. The bride is then welcomed to the groom's house in a ceremony called Grihpravesh.