By Saumya Nair
Adoring a simple yet exquisite Nair wedding ceremony
Kerala’s distinctive rituals and traditions in weddings epitomize the elegance with simplicity.
Unlike a North Indian wedding, with elaborated and gaudy rituals or that customary wedding procession escorting the groom on horseback which is summed up as Baraat, the Nair weddings of Kerala is a synonym of simplicity with a series of humble rituals preceding the engagement. Yet to blend with other traditions, Kerala weddings has adopted some Northern India traditions as a prenuptial ritual. One such being the Mehendi ceremony.
Yes, you heard that right, a proper Nair wedding des not include Mehendi or Haldi ceremony! Umm! Not happening huh? But hey! That doesn’t wear off the beauty of minimal yet authentic age-old traditions.
Well, what charm us, even more, is the Kerala bride donning the Kanjivuram saree which is no less than the sabyasachi lehenga accessorised with gold necklaces & bangles. No wonder why our tongue slips saying ‘Gold owned country’ instead of ‘God’s own country’.
Come let us sway you away with the beliefs and traditions of a Nair wedding ceremony.
Taking planetary influence on top priorities, the families of bride and groom defines the pair as made in heaven & the priest holding an astrological background decides on the shubh muhurath or the best date to tie the knot .
With that commence the first tradition of the ceremony known as Nischayam otherwise known as engagement ceremony. It traditionally takes place at the bride’s house as an intimate affair. With only closed ones from both side of the family present. One of the elder members of the family reads out the approval of marriage function on the predecided date, venue and muhurtham. A copy of the above is signed and exchanged including some gifts on a platter.
One such ritual in the function happens where the bride is adorned with jasmine flowers on her hair pinned by her sister in law.
Nischayam is a promise made and this promise is exchanged in the form of rings known as Mothiram Maatal
And that gears up the couple for their pre-wedding photoshoots.
In any Hindu ceremony, the beginning of every auspicious event requires the blessings of the elders. Dakshina happens to be an important auspicious is conducted just before the marriage ceremony or as a small function one day before the Day. The girl hands over a lemon, a coin on a betel leaf to the elders and touches their feet to seek blessings. Thus heading them to the main ceremony.
As an add on to the event, arrange a stage for a bachelorette party
This small ceremony can be spiced up infusing some song and dance at the very end of the event with every member in the family showcasing their fair share of talents. While in the bride’s house, the Mehendi function can as well be organized although the Mehendi ritual is not a part of the Nair wedding ceremony
On the Big Day
The celebrations begin with the custom where the bride’s parents fill the para, an auspicious Kerala utensil with Nellu (rice without removing the husk). This ritual is a sign of prosperity.
The welcoming of the bridegroom.
Unlike the Dulha on the horseback in the North, the Keralite groom is welcomed at the entrance by his mother in law and a set of young girls who happens to be the bride’s cousins. Before heading inside, the bride’s younger brother washes the feet of the groom. He is then escorted with the bride’s aunt and cousins to the stage who will be carrying small lamp or Diya while the Nadaswarams amp up the entry of the groom. He is made to sit on the right of the decorated canopy on a wooden plank and eagerly awaits the bride.
Off late bride’s entry is no more a usual sight of a blushing bride! The ongoing trends have given a slight twist to the overall monumental entry of the bride. She walks the aisle in a cinematic way dancing to the tunes of some remarkable Malayalam, Tamil or Hindi songs accompanied by her siblings and cousins.
Umm, what you waiting for my Keralite bride, ditch the conventional ways, surprise your love with your personalized choreography dancing to the rhythms of “Maangalyam” from Bangalore days or yet another peppy Tamil songs.
The customs and rituals curated with age-old traditions!
The bride once take the seat to the left side of the groom, the ceremony begins and both of them takes the 7 wedding vows.
No priests, no fire, the Kerala wedding is a five-minute affair!
- Thali kettu
The groom initiates that auspicious moment known as Thaalikettu with Mangalsutra , a sanctified thread that he ties around the bride’s neck and this buckles up the newlyweds for a life long journey and ends with an exchange of garlands.
- Pudava Kodukal
Soon after this nuptial knot, the mother or aunt of the groom gifts the bride with a set of silk sarees and showers her blessings to the newlyweds.
With every other member in the family, giving their share of milk and banana sweet to the couple ends up the simple yet elegant rituals of the Kerala wedding.
Set everything aside and tag it as simple but what stays apart to this elegant event is the extravagant feast served on the plantain leaf. An assortment of 25 various dishes all served on the leaf. Wow! Now never miss a chance when invited to a Kerala wedding.