All About Traditional Malayali Weddings
Event fashion: Kerala, better known as, God’s own Country, is a land of breathtaking scenic beauty. But the State is so much more than just a pretty place. With high rates of literacy and a love for simple things, the Kerala culture is one that is easy-going and laid-back. So are weddings in Kerala, with most of them being casual affairs, without too many rituals. But this isn’t to say that weddings here aren’t a grand affair. Here’s a look at all the rituals that occur in traditional Malayali weddings, that make it so unique.
Traditional Malayali Pre-Wedding Rituals
Muhurtham- Horoscope Matching
As with all Hindu weddings, traditional Malayali weddings also give importance to horoscope or Kundli matching. Good horoscopes result in long-lasting marriages, as per traditional belief. In this ritual, priests check the bride’s and groom’s horoscopes for compliance. Following this, a priest selects and decides a Muhurtam, or suitable date for the wedding.
Once the horoscopes are matched, a dozen or so relatives from the groom’s side go to the bride’s house to finalise things. The fixing of the wedding date, engagement date and intricacies of the wedding are discussed and decided on.
Nischayam/ Mothiram Mattam – Engagement/Ring Exchange
This is the official engagement ceremony in traditional Malayali weddings. The couple holds a ceremony for close friends and relatives. The couple exchange rings during this ceremony. Following this, their families make an official wedding announcement.
This bride’s family holds this function a day before the wedding. It is usually held in her home, which is decked up for the occasion. Senior members of the family attend this function, and elders gather to bless the bride. The family celebrates the union of the bride and groom by singing songs, dancing and playing games.
Traditional Malayali Wedding Rituals
This occurs as soon as the groom reaches the wedding venue during traditional Malayli weddings. The groom and his family are welcomed by the bride’s family. The bride’s father or brother washes the groom’s feet before he enters the hall. Following this, the groom gifts his in-laws a saree for the bride.
Kanyadaanam- Giving the Bride Away
All ceremonies in traditional Malayali weddings occur in front of a Veli or holy fire. The newlyweds circle this fire thrice, after which, the groom ties the Thaali. The Kanyadaanam ritual happens right after. The bride’s father places her hands in the groom’s hands and gives her away to him. This exchange symbolises the father passing on his responsibilities to the groom.
In Traditional Malayali weddings, this ritual sees the groom and bride bring their foreheads together till they touch. Priests chant mantras, and the bride puts rice into the Veli. Following this, the groom puts her foot on a grinding stone, and welcomes her into his life.
This is the food served at traditional Malayali weddings and consists of a scrumptious spread of vegetarian dishes. All the guests sit down and enjoy a grand feast of conventional Malayali dishes, including payasam, which is a dessert.
Traditional Malayali Post-Wedding Rituals
After the completion of the wedding rituals, the couple heads to the groom’s residence. Here, the groom’s mother welcomes the newlyweds with a lit lamp or velaku.
This is a traditional Malayali wedding ritual which occurs after the wedding. This acts as the official entry of the bride into her new home. Friends and family feed the new couple sweets and wish them the best of luck for their future lives. Weddings games help to lighten the mood.