The fiesta begins..
"Marking the Muhurtham"
A traditional Malayalee wedding starts with exchanging and matching of horoscopes by the parents of the boy and the girl. Muhurtham or the auspicious date is then finalised in consultation with the family astrologers and elders of both families.
Betrothal or Nischayam
Nischayam or the engagement ceremony as it is popularly called is the date fixed by the elders to announce the day of the marriage to their family and friends. The prospective bride and groom are not present on this occasion.
A Sadya of sorts.. The traditional Feast
The day before the wedding, a traditional dinner is served at the bride`s residence. She is seated facing the east, and has a traditional five-course vegetarian meal with her family.
The sacred rites
The actual wedding is very short 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. The groom clad in a dhoti and angavastram arrives at the bride`s ancestral home, where the marriage ceremony takes place in a north-western room. The bride`s father washes the groom`s feet and welcomes him. The groom then gives him the off white sari, his gift to his bride. She wears this sari for the wedding rites.
The Veli or the wedding ceremony is performed around the agni (fire). 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 Penkodal.
After the Kanyadaanam, Sparsham takes place. It symbolises the meeting of minds. In this 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 homam. 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 symbolising her entry into his family.
The beginning of a new life..
Immediately after the wedding an elaborate meal is served. It is usually vegetarian. 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 Grihapravesh.
- And they live happily ever after..