Malayali Wedding Rituals

The Malayalee community is fairly large and Malayalee weddings are usually well attended by close as well as distant relatives. The Malayalee  believe in simple living, hence their weddings are not necessarily extravagant affairs. A large wedding hall is booked for the occasion and decorated with flowers and lights. The date for the wedding is fixed after consulting the Hindu calendar. As per the Tamil calender the months of Aashad (July 15th to August 15th), Bhadrapad (September 15th to October 15th) and Shunya (December 15th to January 15th) are considered inauspicious for weddings and hence, Tamilian weddings are not held in these months. 

Muhurtham Veli
Nischayam Sparsham
Traditional Feast Grihpravesh
Madhuparkam
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 finalized in consultation with the astrologers.
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Nischayam
The engagement ceremony as it is popularly called is fixed by the elders to announce this day to their family and friends. The prospective bride and the groom are not present on this occasion.
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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.
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Madhuparkam
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. She is adorned with flowers and jewellery. 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 that has to be worn by the bride for the nuptials. 
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Veli
The Veli or the nuptial ceremony is performed around the agni (fire). The bride and the groom circle the sacred fire thrice, after which the bride's father 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. 
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Sparsham
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 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 symbolising her entry into his family. 
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Grihpravesh
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.
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