Malayalee marriage is a very short and sweet ceremony, which is mostly held in the morning times of the day. The marriage hall that is mostly preferred in their customs is the maternal house of the bride. However the typical malayalee’s still conducting the marriages at their own houses but due to the fact for a more convenient venue for both side families the marriages are now a days conducting mostly at the marriage halls. Whether the occasion is a lavish marriage with the huge number of guests to witness or it might be a simple one the marriage rituals that are followed by the malayalees are generally the same. The malayalee marriages comprises of the following rituals.
In the earlier days boy and girl used to see each other only during the marriage because everything was decided by the elders of the family. The final decision was made by the elders considering the family cast, religion, status, family background. Later the families agreed that the consent of the boy and the girl before marriage is important. Finally it became a formal to make a girl and boy to see each other and decide on the marriage only upon their opinions. Once the girl and boy agreed to marry each other then both families meet to perform the further rituals.
The both parents of the bride and the groom exchange horoscopes and ask their family astrologer to test for the future of the couple, if the horoscopes match and once they heard from the astrologer that both bride and groom can be a best couple an auspicious date or muhurtham is decided upon for conducting the Malayalee wedding ceremony in consultation with the family astrologer.
This ceremony is conducted to officially announce celebrate and share their joyful moments of the confirmation of the upcoming marriage. The horoscopes which have been compared and approved are exchanged between the two families. During this ceremony the bride and the groom exchange the rings and garlands and both side families exchange various types of traditional gifts.
This ceremony is held at the bride’s house the day before the marriage day. Only the close family members and relatives are invited to the ceremony and a grand arrangements are organized for them. The bride dresses in fine jewellery and silk saree is made to sit infront of all the relatives facing the east and all the invitees blesses her with all the joy in her future life. The similar ceremony is organized at the groom’s family as well which symbolises that the elders are the well wishers for any one and for this aspicious occasion the bride and groom need blessings from them to start their new life.
This ceremony takes place at the bride’s house where the bride’s relatives apply mehendi on the bride’s hands. The mehendi designer visits this occasion to make the bride’s hands more beautiful and make bride ready for the marriage. This is a much celebrated ceremony in the Malayalee marriages.
The most preferable place for the marriage occasion in the Malayalee marriages is the ancestral house of the bride. However considering the convenience and the arrangements perspective these days the most people are preferring to celebrate and conduct the marriage ceremony at the convention centre or temple.
Both bride and groom get the blessings from the elders of the both families by giving Dakshina and touching their feet. The actual marriage rituals starts with the ritual that is carried out in their respective homes. Thereafter the bridegroom and the members leaves for the venue of the marriage.
The kalyana mandap must be decorated in a specific way as each of these has certain purpose and meaning in Malayalee custom.
The bridegroom is welcomed to the marriage venue by the bride’s family members. The bride’s brother washes the groom’s legs and invites him warmly to the venue. The bridegroom is usually escorted to the marriage kalyana mandapa by a group of young girls carrying deepams (diyas) and made to sit in a wooden plank on the right side of the canopy which is decorated with flowers, fabric, palm fonds and banana stalks. The bride now arrives to the kalyana mandapam escorted by her aunty and made to sit next to the groom, even the ‘nadaswaram‘ is being played in the background.
At the auspicious marriage moment, the family priest performs the Malayalee wedding ceremony by chanting vedic mantras and the new couple walks around the fire, after which the groom is given the mangalsuthra by his father and he ties the mangalasutra around the neck of the bride to the beating of drums. This Malayalee marriage ritual is called tallikettu.
The new couple now exchange the the garlands accepting each other as the life partners. The bride’s father places her right hand in the right hand of the bridegroom, symbolically transferring the responsibility of taking care of his daughter in this holy life. Then they escorted to a room by their older relatives and bless them. The guests too follow them and bless them with gifts.
A typical meal in Kerala marriages known as the Sadya, which consists of 25 items, is served on plantain leaves. The items are Rice with three varieties of pickle, curries and sweets, Avial, toran, olan, kalam, payasam, pacchadi, pappads and finally the desert paladaaprathaman or chaka prathaman, form part of the elaborate meal.
As decided by the family priest the bride enters to her new home. She receives the blessings of her parents and all elders present at the marriage venue. As she reaches her new house, the womne take ‘Aarthi‘ to cast off evil eyes. The bride now holds a traditional lamp in her hand and is asked to enter her in laws house with her right foot first. The entire house fills with lamp lit all over the house, considered to be a god omen as the new couple starts their new life together. This Malayalee marriage ceremony is called ‘Kudivep‘. The in laws give the bride new clothes, jewellery and gifts.