Well, finally after all the efforts and too much of planning, I got married to Venkat on the 26th of June. It was a typical Iyer wedding which went for 2.5 days. Though we had great fun, it was very tiring. I also realized the 2.5 days went really really fast and before we could even realize, we had tied the knot.
So, the 2.5 days went off with due respect to all the customs and I thought I can share what actually happened on those days.
We started our wedding with the Virudham on 25thmorning. Usually this is done on the previous day of our wedding (like ours) but it can also be done before the wedding day. We reached the marriage hall and my parents got ready to do the Virudham for me. Virudham means fasting where the bride, her parents, groom and his parents will fast and invoke the blessings of the lord and ancestors. Also, the bride and the groom have to do it separately. Just like my first birthday, my parents gave me little rice, jaggery with curd and also give me a new name. After this, yellow thread was tied on my wrist, which means I cannot go out of the marriage. Similarly another yellow thread was tied on Venkat’s wrist. After this palikai ceremony took place where 9 grains were placed in 9 cups and elders sprinkled water on it so that it will sprout. The tradition behind this is as it sprouts, we will be blessed with prosperity. Then aarthi took place and the Virudham came to an end.
We usually invite close relatives, elders to the Virudham function and serve them breakfast and lunch. A traditional lunch without onion and garlic was served.
In the late evening, we had another engagement to which friends and relatives were invited. First the groom was called and my brother kept turmeric for him and gifted him with a dress. Also, he placed the garland around his neck. Then sweets were distributed to the guests. Next, my fiancée’s sister kept me turmeric and gifted me with a saree. After we changed to out new clothes, we were asked to sit next to each other and the elders performed the aarthi. In the meantime, elders from both the family sat next to each other and wrote the “Lagna pathrigai” which means “Marriage contract”. This was read aloud by the priest. It includes the name of both the familes, names of the bride and the grrom and an agreement that the marriage is to be conducted. This was signed by both bride’s and groom’s parents.
After this, thamboolam (plate with betel leaves, dry fruits, coconut, turmeric and kumkum) was exchanged.
In the olden days, we used to have the Jaanavasam where the groom arrives to the wedding hall in a decorated car. Family and friends join the procession.
After this we marched to the dining hall and had a tasty dinner. We then left to take rest as we had to wake up very early the next day. Depending on the muhurtham time, the Kasi yatra time will be fixed as that’s the first tradition on the D day. Our muhurtham was between 7:30 to 9 and Venkat had to leave for the Kasi yatra at 6, while I had to wake up at 3 and get ready. After I tied my new saree, 4 garlands were put around my neck and similarly the bride had 4 garlands. Also, extra poonal thread was given to Venkat and he was asked to tie the Panchagajam for the first time as he was to enter the family man stage.
Then, the Kasi Yatra started. Venkat held an umberella, a paper fan, walking stick and a towel with dhal and rice and started to walk on a false yatra. He was stopped by my father and was asked to marry me by washing his legs. As soon as he accepted the proposal, I was called and made to stand in front of him.
We got ready for the malai maatral ceremony for which uncles are given first preference. Our uncles lifted us and we exchanged the garlands. Also we had a short game where when I try to put the garland his uncles will take him backwards and I had to run to catch hold of him.
After this short game, Venkat was asked to hold my hand and we were asked to sit on a swing for the Oonjal ceremony. The swing was rocked and elders gave us milk and banana. After this round rice balls were thrown in all four directions to shoo away the evil spirits. Then, ladies from our family carried rice and lamp in a vessel and other traditional stuffs and came around us when one came around pouring water. With this the oonjal ceremony came to an end. During the oonjal, relatives sang songs.
Once again he was made to hold my hand and we went to the decorated Manadapam were the wedding was planned. Then we had to do few other puja and I was given the traditional 9yards saree. I was accompanied by my athai and sister in law and they helped me tie the saree. I was then brought to the mandapam. I sat on my father’s lap and my hands were lifter upward and was placed on the hands of Venkat like we are holding each other. Coconut, betel leaves and nuts were kept on my hands. On my hand, a ring made of a dried grass was placed and a branch (yoke) was also placed. Then the mangal sutra was placed and water was poured on the yoke. Then a belt made of another grass was tied to my waist. In the mean time, my sister showed the Mangal sutra to the guests and got their blessings. Later Venkat tied the knot and my sister in law did the last two knots.
Then we were made to take seven steps around the agni. Venkat held my hand and we walked around the agni. For each round, he stopeed, held my right toe by bending down and helped me take seven steps around the fire. At the beginning of each step he chanted the mantra. After this gifts were exchanged.
Then we went around the agni and poured ghee and twigs into it.
Venkat then held my left toe and made me step and stand on a grindstone.
My maternal aunt then placed the “Metti” on my toe and we were made to see the Arundhati and Dhruva Nakshathram.
My brother then was made to sit beside us. He gave a handful of puffed rice into my hand, my husband added little ghee to it and I in turn had to put it in the fire. This was repeated thrice.
Finally after little more pooja, wedding came to an end and we rushed to have lunch. Our banana leaves were decorated and we were asked to feed each other.
After a tasty and sumptuous lunch, we quickly got ready for the Grihapravesam. Me and my relatives visited his room and we were given sweets and gifts. In turn they visited us and we did the same for them.
Now is the fun part of the wedding, the “Nalangu”. Venkat and myself was asked to sit opposite to each other surrounded by our relatives. We started with an anthakshari. Then we applied turmeric on each other’s feet. We were asked to comb each other’s hair. Venkat had to apply make up for me. Then we put a ring inside a pot filled with water and tried taking it out. Even if one picked the ring the other has to fight to get it. Then we had the coconut game were we had to pass it and once it comes in the middle, one has to hold and the other has to take it out from that person’s hand. Finally, appalam was broken on each other’s heads.
Then we had the aarthi ceremony and finally the wedding is over.
Like every other wedding we also had the reception in the evening.
On the 3rd day, we had the kattusadham which literally means packed food. Brunch was served and packed food was given to us. My things were sent to Venkat’s house and we bid farewell to everybody of course with tears.
There ended our 2.5 days typical Iyer wedding and I stepped into Venkat’s house as his wife…
Well gotta go now, c ya all soon. Bye..!!!