South Indian Wedding Rituals

The wedding season has arrived with festive revelry. The vibrant culture, gleeful rituals and celebrations of great Indian weddings will truly melt one's heart. A smiling bride, anointed in turmeric and Kumkumam, with henna in her hands, colourful garlands on her person, Jasmine flowers adorned on her hair, and clad in a striking pattu pudavai is a sight to behold and cherish.

Each outfit in her wedding trousseau is handpicked to render meaning to various ceremonies and exemplify grace and charm of the newlywed.

In South Indian weddings, you can see the finest blending of history with the present. “Kalyanam” is an elaborate affair starting right from Nischayadartham, Malai matrudhal, Oonjal, Kanya-dhaanam, Mangalya dharanam, Paanigrahanam, Sapta-padhi, and finally the Graha-pravesam, where the bride is welcomed into the Groom’s family. For each of these rituals, a silk sari is inextricably linked.

This panel of Ellora shows the icon of Kalyanasundara Murthi, depicting the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvathi. The iconography shows the “panigrahana”, accepting of hand, which is one of the most important rituals of a Hindu wedding. The groom accepts the bride by taking her right hand into his.
 
A pattu pudavai for the bride and pattu veshti for the groom is more than just five to nine yards of cloth. It is the essence of our culture and tradition.  Gold and silver zari is incorporated to fine South Indian silks and contributes to the rich tapestry of India’s craft silks.
 
The traditional colours are deeply entrenched in the cultural fabric of our wedding attire, their symbolism is closely tied to what shades we wear on wedding rituals. The brides drape a complete saree, which is three-dimensional, with a korvai and grand “thalaippu” or pallu. The bride wears auspicious colours of “Kumkuma red” or Aracku, “Pachai” (Emerald green), Turmeric yellow, or sheer gold brocades. Usually, the colour black is avoided in Hindu weddings.
 
The bride dons a Muhurta-pattu pudavai during the Mangalya-dharanam, which is bought on an auspicious day and time. Both the families come together to select this sacred drape.

The Muhurta pattu is called a “Koorai-pudavai” and this sari is draped by the bride by the sister of the bridegroom, signifying her welcome. As the mangala-dharanam  is performed, the auspicious nadaswaram called “Getti Melam” is played amidst the chanting of mantras.
 
“She standeth here, pure before the holy fire. As one blessed with boons of a good mind, a healthy body, life-long companionship of her husband and children with long lives. She standeth as one who is avowed to stand by her husband virtuously.”
 
The Wedding Collective for a “Sundari” bride brings together the amalgamation of ethnic roots with a deep sense of design. Each saree is a tale in itself and she can find a treasured trousseau piece without fail!

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