Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Typical Srilankan Tamil Wedding Day

The main wedding day is like a typical Srilankan Tamil wedding and almost closer to the South-Indian Tamil weddings. The Bride wears a bright-red 'koorai' sari with heavily pleated pattern and a blouse embroidered in gold. The veil is put over her head and wrapped around her shoulders in such a way that her face is not hidden. The 'koorai' sari is the most elaborate attire the bride will wear. The Groom wears a traditional pattu vaetti and a white silk shirt with a turban. As a custom, the bride's younger brother will be the mappillai-tholan.He is like an escort for both Bride & Groom in the occasion of the marriage.
Mappilai Tholan escorts the groom to the hall in his wedding attire and is seated throughout the wedding ceremony. The bride is brought in after the “Rakshabhandanam” of the groom. This is when the veil plays its part; the bride and groom are not supposed to see each other during the ceremony until the bride goes in to change her “koorai”, which is handed by the groom himself to her. The ceremony is always held at the girl’s side because the groom comes over to the bride’s place to marry her in front of relatives and friends and ceremoniously takes her away. He sits, passes the “koorai” to her, telling her to tie the sari which he has gifted and when she comes back to the manavarai, he stands, respecting her and giving her the status of a wife, by tying the kodi and Thirumangalyam around her neck. This is when the veil is removed and he sees his glowing bride, now his wife. She then stands, and garlands her husband, in a symbol of respect and he while seated, garlands her to symbolize unity.
Hindu marriage symbolizes not only the wedding bond between a man and a woman, but it also symbolizes mutual love, care, affection, understanding, commitment, sacrifice, companionship, dedication and surrender by both the partners. Each and every ritual associated with the marriage has a meaning. One of such ritual is tying of "mangalyam" The groom ties the "mangalyam" around the bride’s neck with three knots, each knot representing three different aspects – the first knot represents her respect towards her husband; the second knot represents the respect towards his parents and her parents; and the third knot represents the respect to the God. It is not only the yellow thread or the gold chain that has the significance, but also the bond between two hearts and the protection assured by each other. Thaali contain Sivalingam on one side and Soolam with Thiruneeru on other side, but for Amman thali it contains Amman Logo. On either side of the Thaali, there are two coins with Goddess Lakshmi engraved on it, but nowadays old type of English coin is used for it.

Legend says that thaali was actually a tiger tooth that was tied around the bride’s neck by the bridegroom as a gift. The bridegroom himself defeats the tiger without any weapon and brings the tooth to tie in his girl’s neck as a token of bravery and courage, symbolizing that he can protect his wife throughout his lifetime from evils. Mangalyam holds a special place for married women, especially in the Tamil culture. When it is tied around her neck, it promotes her as a wife who looks after the welfare of a family. It is considered as one of the most important ornaments in a married woman’s life, which remains in her neck throughout her lifetime. All married women worship their mangalyam by keeping kumkum (holy red powder) on it and perform “Sumangali Poojai” for the long-life of their husbands. At the end of the evening, a procession escorts the couple to the wedding car and throws flower petals on the couple.