All you need to know about Tamil Christian Matrimony
Event Fashion: “The Tamil Christian Matrimony is a time-honoured and a fascinating amalgamation of western sensibilities and Tamil customs. While the minutiae of the ceremonies might subject to change, depending upon a multitude of factors; Includes denominational beliefs and practices. But, the core inherent joy and serenity of the wedding stays intact throughout the spectrum. Here’s a quick rundown of how a usual Tamil Christian wedding would transpire.”
“Christianity has been a part of Tamil culture for a very long period of time. Historians, in fact, have established that the religion had taken root and flourished in Tamil Nadu about 750 years ago. The presence of St. Thomas Mount alone is a worthy monument to the prosperity of the eternal faith. Christianity has long held the view that marriage as the most intimate of human relationships and a sacred gift from God. Thus, the Christian celebration of love is a holy union of a man and a woman, makes a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other.”
As is tradition, every holy marital union begins with the betrothal. There is no pre-ordained way to go about the betrothal, and it is a ceremony that is a lot more important for the wonderful coupling it results in. The rite itself is a simple and elegant conversation between two consenting people and, by extension, their immediate families. Betrothal is by tradition a formal event
An inevitable follow-up to the betrothal is the engagement, which while representing the same tenet of acceptance from both sides on the wedding, is a lot more informal. The customary tradition is an exchange of wedding rings, sometimes along with wedding bands. The rings themselves usually vary widely, from stone-studded ones to pure bands. The engagement ceremony officially marks the beginning of the wedding as a sacred institution.
The pastor instructs and guides the couple about the scriptures on married life. This would include responsibilities as a spouse, constructing a stable family, raising children in the ideal fashion and so on. The aim is to help the couple attain a new perspective regarding their own decisions.
According to scriptures issued in the 12th century AD, marriage is a Sacrament. The consenting partners can exchange their wedding vows irrespective of where they are from and who they are. Nevertheless, it has become a part of the natural discourse that a priest must oversee the union. And the wedding itself must occur in a church of one of the consenting partner’s denomination. The Church has slowly shredded its image as a formal institution of marriage. And now has taken up the image of a congregational space for the community to get together to celebrate; The union of the couple.
The Big day
On Wedding Day, the groom enters the church first. The front rows closest to the altar are occupied by the parents of the groom and the bride. Some weddings have traditional hymns sung at the altar detailing to the fortunes and goodwill of the couple and to their extended families. The pastor leads this session, as he prepares himself for the wedding; The oath that is about to happen under his oversight.
The bride’s father walks down the bride to the groom at the altar. This is to symbolize the act of the bride’s father entrusting his beloved daughter to the worthy groom. This is done in the presence of all of the required participants. The best man could be the closest friend or the groom’s brother, who supports him. There are also bridesmaids who attend to the needs and will of the bride.
After the hymn sessions, the preaching is done by the pastor. He informs all those who have gathered in the church, about the sanctity of the wedding they’re about to witness and participate in. This is the pastor’s final imparting, at the least pertaining to wedding traditions.
Now, the pastor leads both the bride and groom through their wedding vows. Both bride and groom are to repeat what the pastor asks them to repeat. With each voicing their own separate vows that pertain to their respective roles as a spouse. The pastor proclaims the bride and groom, lawfully wedded husband and wife; Lawfully wedded after the vows have been pledged and the exchange of rings.
Finally, the reveal of the bridal veil is a vital part of the ceremony. It involves the groom lifting up the veil that had so far into the ceremony covered up the bride’s face. This final rite cements their union and signals the end of the official wedding.
A post-wedding reception involves the bride and groom. Treating everyone in attendance to a fine meal and drinks, give them the opportunity to congratulate the newlywed couple. Friends and family of the couple present them with gifts, indicating love, marriage and togetherness
The wedding cake, a colossal undertaking on its own. The wedding cake is cut and shared amongst the couple by each other as a symbol of love. Then, the cake is shared with the attendees; Of course, when a large amount of cake is present. And sometimes, few cake-splattered faces are seen as the collateral damage to the fun that follows.
Flower Bouquet :
Now, for the final rite. The bride is to toss the bouquet of wedding flowers she received from the groom into the air on to the group of bridesmaid. It is a custom observed that whichever young woman manages to catch hold of it, will soon meet her husband-to-be. Followed by a wonderful wedding of her own.
“Thus the Tamil traditional Christian matrimony comes to a grand close. While a lot of details are added and taken away from the above-mentioned sequence (It depends on the denomination you come from). Altogether, the Christian Matrimony is observed with the joy and the pomp it deserves throughout Tamil Nadu.”
Also See: Traditional Hindu Wedding