|Simple and Traditional Nair Wedding|
Nairs are a Hindu community from Kerala hailing from the ruling, warrior and landed gentry class in pre-independent India. Nairs are also prominent in politics, government service, medicine, education and law. A distinctive feature of the Nair community is that they are a matrilineal community. Under this system, the property rights of the joint family are vested in the female members.
Some famous Nairs are Shashi Tharoor, the actor Mohanlal, famous artist K C S Panikka, Communist party leader Prakash Karat etc
Malyalee Nair weddings are simple and brief. It has few rituals and far lesser religious compulsions. A traditional Nair wedding is conducted in a nearby temple or Kalyana Mandap or even at the Guruvayoor temple.
Pre wedding ceremonies
Muhurtham: The parents of the girl and boy exchange horoscopes and if the horoscopes match, an auspicious date or muhurtham is decided upon for conducting the wedding ceremony in consultation with the family astrologer.
Nischayam or the engagement ceremony: This ceremony is to announce, share and celebrate the joyful event of the confirmation of marriage. Gifts are exchanged between the families.
Ayana (pre-nuptial blessing of the bride): This function is held at the bride's residence on the previous day of the wedding. Her close family members and relatives are only invited for the function and a grand fest is organized for them. The bride dressed in fine jewellery, silk saree is made to sit facing the east and she takes the blessings of her elders. A similar function is organized by the groom's family in his house.
The most preferred destination to conduct Malayalee weddings is the ancestral house of the bride. Today it is more of a matter of picking a convenient venue suitable for both the families either in a kalyana mandap or temple.
The bridegroom is usually escorted in a ceremonious manner to the kalyana mantapa by a group of 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 fronds and banana stalks. The bride is escorted by her aunt to the mantapam, and made to sit next to the groom, even as the 'nadaswaram' is being played in the background.
At the auspicious moment, the family priest performs the nuptial ceremony by chanting vedic mantras and the couple walks around the fire, after which the groom ties the mangalasutra around the neck of the bride to the beating of drums. This ritual is called tallikettu.
The bridegroom gifts the bride a sari and a blouse on a platter, conveying to her that he will now assume the responsibility of providing for her life. This ritual is called Pudamuri. The couple exchange garlands accepting each other as 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 holy matrimony. Then they are escorted to a room by their older relatives, who bless them. The guests too follow them and bless them with gifts.
A typical meal in Kerala known as sadya, which consists of 25 items, is served on plantain leaves. Rice, three varieties of pickle, curries and sweets, Avial, toran, olan, kalam, pacchari, payasam, pappads and finally the desert paladaaprathaman or chaka prathaman, form part of the elaborate meal.
Post wedding ceremony
Grihapravesh: At an appointed auspicious time, the bride proceeds to her new home. She takes the blessings of her parents and all elders present at the venue. As she reaches her new house, the women take 'aarthi' to cast off evil eye. The bride holds a traditional lamp in her hand and is asked to enter the house with her right foot. The entire house is bright with lamps lit all over the house, considered to be a good omen as the couple starts their life together. This ceremony is called 'kudivep'. The in-laws give the bride jewels and gifts.
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