Ohm Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya:
Kerala Nair Wedding Ceremony.
Hindu wedding ceremony had its origin from the ancient Vedic period. Kerala Nair Wedding Ceremony is also conducted imbibing the spirit and sanctity of Vedic Rituals. It can be summarized, especially for Malayalees abroad to follow, in eight paragraphs, as below: (It is nice to announce this procedure to the audience before beginning the wedding celebrations or to inform the invitees in advance, exhorting them also for sharing the Maha Prasadam at the end of the function)
1. Seeking God’s blessings: At the outset the bride / the groom visits her / his respective Kula Devatha Temple (or any God / Goddess Temple for that sake) with a pure mind, heart and body, in the early morning on the wedding day, and perform worship of the Deity, according as they like, with their preceptor’s advice.
2. Giving Dakshina to elders: Before starting from home for the wedding ceremony, they give Dakshina to their elders present there, for their blessings. (Dakshina to father and mother, also mutually, is given in front of the Kathirmandapam, just before the wedding).
3. Receiving Groom: As soon as the groom and party arrive at the place of marriage, the brass oil lamps at the Kathirmandapam are lit, colorful pageantry of thalappoli (each tray of Thalappoli contains rice, thamboolam, arecanut, arecanut peduncle (kamukin poonkula), mirror, folded kasavu neriyathu, kumkum cheppu, coconut halves, and small lamp) led by the brides’ maternal aunt, who holds the Ashta mangala deepam in her both hands, along with Nagaswara melam, are made ready to greet him at the door step. The Brides party moves towards the Groom’s party with Peedham (piece of plank for the Groom to stand while washing his feet), Kindi with water, Floral Garland, Bouquet, Sandalwood paste, Limes, Rose Water etc., led by the would be brother-in-law. He washes the Groom’s feet at the peedham first, puts the garland, gives the bouquet, puts a thilakam on his forehead, gives the lime fruit, sprays the rose water, shakes hands with him, hugs and brings the groom near the Kathirmandapam, in a procession, accompanied by thalappoli and melam, along with his party, greeted properly by giving limes etc. especially to the ladies of the Groom’s party.
4. Entering Kathirmandapam: The Groom before entering Kathirmandapam, gives dakshina to elders if any remains there, to both the parents, and then bows and welcomes all invitees around with folded hands, to get their blessings. He is then brought to the Kathirmandapam, adorned by nilavilakku and nirapara, held in hands by his father. After a small worship of the Deity at the entrance of the Kathirmandapam (supposing Lord Ganapathy at the orukku, Goddess Saraswathy and Gurudevs at the lamp) the Groom steps on with his right leg and sits at the peedham there, arranged for the purpose, leaving enough space on his left for the bride to sit.
5. Arranging Mantrakodi: In the meantime, the Groom’s uncle, close elders and immediate relations sit on a blanket / mat near the Kathirmandapam and arrange in a tray the Manthrakodi, and golden chain etc., which are to be given to the Bride by the Groom, at the wedding, immediately after mutual exchange of the floral garlands.
6. Here comes the Bride: Now the Bride’s father holds her hand and brings her accompanied by thalappoli and melam followed by relatives. She also gives Dakshina to both the parents. After greeting all the invitees with folded hands and bowed head, she is also brought to the Kathirmandapam by her father holding her hands. She also worships the Deity there, in the same way as the Groom did, offering flowers etc., and with her right leg enters the Kathirmandapam and sits on the left side of the Groom, who is waiting for her to sit by his side.
7. Wedding: The father of the Groom gives him the Mangalya sutram (Thali) appropriately, after showing it to the lamp and praying for their deergha sumangali yoga. The Groom in turn ties the mangalya sutram around the Bride’s neck, at the most auspicious muhurtha proposed for the wedding, and Groom’s sister standing behind, ties it tight. Vaikkurava and Gatti melam (Mangalyam thandunanena mamajeevana hethuna …..) are to be played at the background. Now the Bride gets up and stands in front of the Groom. The father of the Bride gives her the garland, which she puts on to his neck. Next the Groom puts the other garland given to him by his father on her neck. He then puts the golden chain, obtained from his father, on to her neck. Now she puts the ring, got from her father, on Groom’s right ring finger and he puts another in exchange. Now the father of the Groom gives him the tray with the Manthra Kodi. After asking three times “pudava kodukkatto” the Groom gives her the Manthra kodi. In the same way asking three times “pudava vangatto” she bows and receives the tray with the Mantrakodi. They stand back. Now the father of the Bride comes behind the couple, places a thamboolam in the right palm of the Groom and places the right hand of the Bride on top of it. After this Panigrahanam they stand there for a while. The mother of the Groom now puts ‘kumkum’ on the forehead of the Bride. This is called ‘seemanda rekhayil sindooram aniyikkal’. Holding hands the couple walks around the Kathirmandapam three times and then they step down from the Kathirmandapam, and walk into a room nearby where they are given milk and plantain fruit by the bride’s mother first, followed by others. The couple change their costumes. She now wears the manthrakodi. After the ordeal of photos etc., they take part in the Feast (sadya) there after.
8. Bharthru Gruhapravesham: At the proposed muhurtha, the couple enters the groom’s house where they are welcomed with lighted lamp and treated by rituals and greeted by all. Milk and fruits are given again by the groom’s mother and others.
Reception: A reception is arranged for the invitees in connection with the marriage thereafter.