Tamil Wedding Rituals : A Simple,Vibrant ,Traditional & Colorful Celebration | Pradakshinaa

Tamil brahmin wedding are always fun.They are traditional,vibrant & joyous with so many colors.

With vibrant red and gold colors, a Tamil wedding shares many of the same components as a Hindu wedding, but has unique customs that distinguish it from the rest of India. It’s a very cosmic affair,the parents of the prospective bride and groom get together to exchange horoscopes, which are then analysed by a priest to pinpoint the best time of year for the pair to tie the knot. Certain months are no-go zones for weddings.

The Tamil Brahmin marriage customs and traditions are quite numerous but still fascinating. Starts with Ganapati Pooja and then other Poojas take place like Nandi Devata pooja and Navagraha Pooja. Nischayathartham, i.e. engagement ceremony occurs in which variety of gifts are exchanged between both the bride’s and groom’s families.

The attire of brides, like every other wedding, plays an extremely vital role in Tamil Brahmins weddings. Bride has to be draped in a 9-yard saree in “madisar” style. Then to enhance her gorgeousness many a times, heavy neckpieces are worn by them. She uses gold threads to decorate her plait, wears gold made “surya” and “chandra” on her head, “vanki” on her fore arms and so on. Talking about Tamil Brahmin grooms, they are made to remain bare-chested and wear a “panchakatcham” veshti. He also carries an umbrella, bhagwatgita,a towel filled with dal and rice, etc. with him.

Here are the pre-wedding rituals that take before the wedding :

1} Panda Kaal Muhurtham

The wedding functions in a Tamil household begin with this ritual which is held a day before the wedding. In this, both the families offer their prayers to God for a peaceful, joyous and uninterrupted wedding.

Panda Kaal Muhurtham
Panda Kaal Muhurtham,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

2} Vratham

vratham,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

Vratham is the fast that happens generally a day before the wedding. In this rituals, both the bride and groom’s families fast for prosperity of their children and their new married life. On this day, a clay pot filled with nine varieties of grains is kept aside. The married women of the family pour water in the pot and allow the grains to sprout for the day. This is a symbolic rituals, where the pot is considered as houses, grains as bride and groom and the sprouts indicates the prosperity in the family. The family members sing traditional folk songs during various rituals and rejoice. After a day or two the pot is immersed into the pond, where fishes can eat the grains.

3}. Naandi Shrardham

In this ritual, the bride and the groom’s families pray to the souls of their ancestors. 10 Brahmins or less are invited for an authentic South Indian feast by both the set of families. Fruits, coconut, flowers, paan supari, sweets and veshti angavastram (traditional clothes) and offered to the Brahmins and they are requested to bless the couple. 

4} Janavasam

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Jaanavasam a small ceremony, which is conducted just before the reception. The bride and groom came in a gorgeously decorated car and they get down outside the marriage hall. This ritual is performed to welcome the groom and perform aarthi.

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5}. Nichayathartham (Engagement)

Nichayathartham,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

Nichayathartham begins with a Ganesh puja performed by the bride’s family. The groom’s family then gives the bride a new saree, jewellery and gifts and the bride’s family gifts the groom new set of clothes. The bride and the groom then change into the new dress gifted by each other’s family. 

Then, the groom’s sister applies kumkum and chandan tilak on the brides’s forehead while the bride’s brother applies it for the groom. The bride’s brother offers a garland of flowers to the groom while the groom’s sister does the same for the bride. The bride and the groom then exchange rings in the presence of family members and friends.

6}. Lagna Pathirikai

Lagna Pathirikai in Tamil translates to a wedding invitation. After the engagement ceremony, the wedding date is officially announced in front of the guests by the priest.

Lagna Pathirikai,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

Here are the Wedding rituals that take place on the wedding day :

1} Mangala Snaanam (Holy bath)

The rituals commence with Mangala Snaanam wherein the relatives and friends apply a paste of oil, turmeric, and kumkum on the bride and the groom. And then they are taken for the purifying bath. 

2} Gauri Puja

Once the bride is ready, she offers prayers to Goddess Gauri who is considered a symbol of purity.

3} Kashi Yatra

Kashiyatra,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

Kashiyatra, One of the more amusing Tamil wedding traditions, this involves the groom mock threatening to renounce the world and go on a pilgrimage.He is given a walking stick and a few bare essentials like an umbrella, slippers etc. for his journey! – but as he sets off, the bride’s father intervenes and pleads with him not to go, promising him his daughter. The bride’s family also convinces him to stay back and experience the Grihastha stage (the married life.) The bride’s father persuades the groom by saying that, for attaining salvation, one must cross all the stages of life. Skipping one stage to reach almighty sooner is the wrong notion that people have. The bride’s father also explains how the Grihastha stage helps mankind to get the knowledge of experiences consisting of different emotions. The groom relents and heads to the mandap!

4} Maalai Maatral

Malaimatrinaal,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

The couple garland each other three times to symbolise their commitment to a life together. In the first two exchanges of the garlands, the groom places his garland (maalay) over the bride first, but for the the final exchange, they garland each other simultaneously to show they accept each other as equals & begin their holy union.

Malaimatrinaal,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa
Malaimatrinaal,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa
Malaimatrinaal,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

5} Oonjal (Swing of Gods)

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In oonjal ceremony, married ladies of the family offer some milk and banana to the bride and groom while they are seated on a swing. Rice balls are thrown around them as a symbol to ward of evil. 

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6} Pada Pooja

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After the groom arrives at mandap,bride’s father wash groom’s feet with the mixture of holy water,chandan,milk & vermillion.Then his feet are dried using flower petals.

7} Kanyadaanam 

kanyadaanam,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

Here, the bride’s father hands over his daughter to the groom for eternity. And, the groom gives assurance to her parents that he will take care of the bride always. 

kanyadaanam,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa
kanyadaanam,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

One heartwarming ritual is when the bride sits on her father lap when the father is giving away his daughter. This ritual symbolises a father is giving his baby daughter who played in his lap, and seeking the groom’s promise that he will always take care of her. There are smiles too however, as this moment also signifies two families becoming one. The bride’s mother pours waters over their hands, symbolising her approval of the marriage while the bride’s father recites the giving away mantras.

8} Koorai Sari

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The bride is presented with a beautiful sari as a gift from the groom during the ceremony. The Koorai sari is typically a traditional Kanchipuram silk sari, red with exquisite gold thread embellishments and beadwork. The bride leaves the Manavarai briefly to change into the Koorai sari and makes a second journey down the aisle wearing her new sari, adorned in traditional heavy gold Tamil jewellery and carrying a fresh floral garland for her groom.

bride portrait,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

9} Muhurtham (Tying of the Thaali – Mangalsutra)

muhurtham,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

Muhuratham.This is the pinnacle of the Tamil Hindu wedding ceremony. The Thaali is the traditional sacred gold bridal necklace which the groom ties around her neck at a very specific hour, symbolising their vows of mutual acceptance and that they are now husband and wife.

muhurtham,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa


Family and friends shower the happy couple with fresh flower petals (like confetti), as traditional music builds to an intense crescendo. The ceremonial song you’ll normally hear as the Thaali is being tied is called the Ketti Melam.
The live carnatic music plays an essential role in the ceremony, helping to build the drama, mask any inauspicious sounds and drawing all eyes to the most crucial part of the ceremony.

muhurtham,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

10} Kumgumam

kumgumam,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

The groom gently places Kungumam (vermillion dot) on her forehead for the first time, to symbolise to the world that she is now a married woman. The red hue is said to bring good fortune, prosperity and luck into the home of the bride.

kumgumam,Tamil wedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

11} Saptapadi & Metti

saptapadi.tamilwedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

The bride and the groom take seven sacred rounds around the fire in this ritual known as the Saptapadi. There is also another ritual in which the groom holds the left toe of the bride and helps her to tread on a grindstone kept near the ritual fire. This symbolises their holy union, which will be as so lid as a rock. This grindstone is compared to the entrance of her new home and everytime she steps out, it will remind her of her responsibilities towards her new family. 

saptapadi,tamilwedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa
tamilwedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa,rituals,metti

The priest then pours rice into the groom’s hands, which he’ll allow to fall through his fingers into the bride’s hands below. She then offers the rice to the Gods through the fire and prays for health, happiness and prosperity. The groom slips the mettis (toe rings) over the second toe of each of the bride’s feet. Like the red bindi on the forehead, the toe rings indicate her new status and should always be worn as long as she’s married.

12} Blessings & Aalathi

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As the wedding begins to draw to a close, the couple are blessed by their parents and relatives, and the Aalathi is performed once more.

blessings,tamilwedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa,ashirwad


People in groups bless the couple by showering them with rice and presenting them with gifts, which are normally cash in a decorative envelope to help them set up their new household after the Big Day.
The marriage is not just about the bride and groom becoming one, but about the unification of the two families. In Tamil weddings, the parents of the couple are just as important as the two people making their eternal vows in front of the sacred fire. The ritual lasts around 90 minutes and is followed by a magnificent wedding feast.

Here are the post-wedding rituals that take before the wedding :

1} Valeyadal

Valeyadal begins with the groom’s sister giving the bride a gift, after which the couple enjoys the wedding games.

2} Nalangu – The games

nalangu,indianwedding,tamilwedding,pradakshinaa

After the rituals are over, the fun and games begin. The priest calls the couple over to play games, egged on by their nearest and dearest. In a pot full of water and fleshly plucked flowers, the priest slips in trinket. The bride and groom compete against each other to find the item first. It’s a best of three, and there’s a surprise at the end for the couple. The games were used in arranged marriages to help the couple bond but are now used to relax the newlyweds – it’s thought that whoever finds the item first will rule the roost in the marriage.

nalangu,indianwedding,tamilwedding,pradakshinaa

3} Grihapravesham

gruhpravesh,grihapravesham,indianwedding,tamilwedding,pradakshinaa

This is the time when the couple reaches the groom’s house after the wedding. The groom’s mother welcomes the couple by performing aarti, as they stand at the doorstep.

One can say that the long-drawn nuptial ceremonies and traditions are the charm and splendor of the Tamil Brahmin weddings.

These are the ceremonies that are part of the most Tamil weddings we have photographed, however different Tamilian communities might also follow some different rituals and customs.

blessings,grihapravesham,tamilwedding,indianwedding,pradakshinaa

One can say that the long-drawn nuptial ceremonies and traditions are the charm and splendor of the Tamil Brahmin weddings.

All pictures photographed by : Pradakshinaa

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