Saturday, 4 May 2013

Vanniar Community Marriage Rituals

Vanniyakula Kshatriya or Vanniar is one of the major communities in Tamil Nadu. The name Vanniar originated from the Tamil word Vanni denoting agni or fire in Sanskrit. The community includes around 92 sub-castes. Vanniar, Vanniyakula Kshatriya, Naicker, Nayagar, Padayachi are prominent among them. They are one among the various castes, who are communally well-organized, politically well supported and well-versed.

Though Vanniars live in all the places of the state they are more populated in Erode, Kanchipuram, Dharmapuri, Vellore, Salem, Thiruvannamalai, Tiruchi, Villupuram, Thanjavur, Cuddalore, Namakkal, Krishnagiri, Perambalur, Ariyalur, and Nagapattinam districts.

Young women and men in the community are simple, hard-working and robust built. In the earlier past, the community was active in warfare activities and some among them even have ruled smaller kingdoms as kings. A sizeable percentage of them are still engaged in agriculture for the income. In the last 10 to 20 years most of the younger women and men have started joining professional courses of study and joined various job streams.

During the earlier years some of the Vanniar families had moved to countries such as Mauritius, South Africa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Fiji and Malaysia as labourers seeking greener pastures. The well-educated among them have settled in European countries, the UK and the USA.

In the last 10 to 15 years some of them have made their mark as teachers, doctors, high court judges and even IAS/IPS officers. Barring a microscopic minority, normally most of them are non-vegetarians.
For most of the Vanniar families the family deity is Sree Angala Parameswari Amman. The 350 year old Mannaarswamy and PachaiammanTemple a village deity temple in Salem is also worshipped by majority of the community. They worship gods such as Vinayakar, Murugar, Venkitachalapathy, Iyyanar, Guru, Saptha Rishis, Illaya Muni, Semuni, Vamuni Saptha Mathas, and Karthiyayini Devi. Though they believe and worship all gods, for most of them the family deity is Sree Angala Parameswari Amman.

Vanniar Marriages
Vanniar community normally fixes the marriages using the word of mouth services of relatives and friends. Social functions organized within the community are also used to make marriage proposals. Presently the community uses both conventional and modern methods in arranging the marriages.

During olden days the community used to follow elaborate wedding rituals and conduct the marriage for over three days. Currently due to time constraints marriages are almost completed within a day or two.  The marriages are performed either as self-respect marriages or conducted by Tamil Oduvars or performed by Brahmin priests. Common rituals followed in Vanniar marriages are listed below.

Nichiyathartham or the Engagement
On completing the horoscope matching both the bride and groom families will meet and discuss the details about conducting of the marriage. An auspicious date will be fixed to conduct the Nichiyathartham or Parisam Poduthal function. The function will be normally held at the bride’s house or at a marriage hall.
On the pre-fixed day of Nichiyathartham the groom’ family with all the relatives will arrive to the bride’s house or the hall fixed for the purpose. As a procedure the groom’s family will carry betel, areca nut, flowers, fruits, saffron, sandalwood powder, coconut, turmeric along with a new sari and glass-beads threaded in a string. The bride’s family will welcome the family of the groom and receive the seer items. The items will be  arranged systematically in plates. The parisam money or jewels and the Mulaipal Kuli (Milk money) to honour the mother for breastfeeding the bride will be kept in separate plates. The parism money will be received by the father of the bride. At the end of the function both the families will have a grand feast arranged by the bride’s family.

After the feast, the bride will have a bath again and wear the new sari given to her by the groom’s family. For makeup she will use the sandalwood powder, saffron, jewellery and flowers. Finally she will wear the string of beads brought by the groom’s family around her neck. To denote the completion of Nichiyathartham betel and nut will be distributed all the guests attended the function.

During olden days the Parisam Money and other presents were carried in a decorated palanquin and taken around the village of the bride. At the completion of Nischayathartham the bride will touch the bow and sword owned and brought in by the groom. The groom used to wear the dress of the king or warrior, sit over a horse and drive it to the home of the bride to attend the function.

Marriage ceremonies:

Bringing special pots for the marriage
 During the olden days Vanniar’s performed extensive rituals during the marriage and conducted it for three days. The bride was taken on a procession to the house of bridegroom either on the first of the marriage or a day earlier to it. Women from the potter caste will accompany the bride by carrying the pots specially prepared for the marriage.

Decorating the Marriage Dais:
The marriage dais will be extensively decorated; the handle of a plough or milk-post will be kept close to it. A Mortar-Pestle (ammikallu), a large mud pot, a pot with a light inside (Kuda vilakku) and an ornamental light also will be placed close by.

Vanniars from North Arcot district will normally use the Vanni tree (Prosopis spicigera) stick as the first pole to support the constructed dais. They worship the tree for success over enemies, to forgive them from the committed sins and to grant them their wishes. They consider that the Vanni tree represent the holy tree was used by Kshatriya Pandava Kings to keep their arms hidden, during their exile period.

Both the groom and the bride will undergo the nalangu ceremony separately. They will be seated over a wooden plank and five women chosen for the purpose will smear oil by using grass stem and apply green gram paste over it. They will perform arati using red coloured water made of turmeric water mixed with lime. Arati is performed to symbolically ward off all the evils. Then both of them will be led to take bath. As a form of ritual five small sized cakes are positioned over their head, shoulders and knees and other places when they take bath.

Preparing for the marriage
Both the groom and the bride will be seated over a wooden plank and undergo the nalangu ceremony separately. Five women chosen for the ceremony will smear oil by using grass stem and apply green gram paste over it. They will perform arati using red coloured water made of turmeric water mixed with lime. Arati is performed to symbolically ward off all the evils. Then both of them led to take bath. As a form of ritual five small sized cakes are placed over their head, shoulders and knees and other places, when they take bath.

The priest chosen to conduct the marriage will tie the sacred yellow thread known as Kanganam around the wrists of the groom. The groom in turn will tie it around the wrists of the bride before the commencement of the marriage.

The marriage will become complete with the tying of Thali a sacred thread around the neck of the bride by the groom. Before tying the thali is kept in a plate along with coconut, betel and nut. It will be taken to all the elders present in the hall to receive their blessings. At the chosen auspicious muhurtham time the groom will tie the thali around the neck of the bride, among the holy sounds such as the chanting of holy verses by the prohit, blowing of conch and playing of the flute. The sister of the groom will hold a Kamakshi Vilakku representing goddess Kamatchi of Kanchipuram known as wife of lord Shiva to receive her blessings during the occasion. The elders present at the hall will bless the couple showering atchathai (rice coloured with turmeric).

Tying of Pattam
After the completion of thali tying or knotting ceremony, the couple will swap their seats and their clothes will be tied together. Then their close relatives will tie the gold or silver plate called pattam around their foreheads. For the bride the pattam will be in shape of papal tree leaf and for the groom it will be in the shape of a vaishnavati namam. . The pattam will be tied by the maternal uncles of bride and the groom.

Ammi Midithal
Ammi Midithal and Arunthathi parthal (stepping over Mortar-Pestle and viewing of the Arunthathi star) will normally mark the completion of a Hindu marriage. In the Vanniar marriage the bride and the groom will go around the milk-post and the dais. After completing three rounds the groom will lift and keep the left foot and the right foot in order over the Ammi and bejewel the finger next to thumb with a jewellery known as Metti.

Arundhathi Parthal
Arundhathi Parthal is also an important feature associated with the Vanniar marriages. Arunthathi, the wife of a sage is known for her virtue and purity and has become a celestial star. Priest who conducts the marriage will show the place, where the star will normally appear and explain its significance.

Mock Ploughing Ceremony
The marriage will come to an end in the evening with a mock ploughing ceremony participated by the couple. After the removal of the Kanganam tied in the morning, the groom will carry a small plough and the bride will follow him with a kanji pot to the outdoor. The groom will mockingly use the plough to plough-up a small area of land and sow some seedlings. He will then offer betel and nut to a small pillayar made of cow-dong to mark the purity of the marriage ceremonies. After some time the groom will sit in a corner acting as if fatigued by the work. The bride will offer him Kanji made of rice porridge that she has brought with her and her brother will mockingly prevent him from taking it.

Disclaimer: the information provided in the write up is collected from various sources and we believe them as correct. We will be happy to receive corrections if any. Please send your mail with details to

Mudaliar Community Marriage Rituals

Mudaliar community is one among the oldest communities from South India. The word Mudaliar refers to the one who leads the other citizens.The caste names such as Sengunthars, Vellalars, Agamudayars Thondaimandala Saiva Vellalar, Arcot/Thuluva Vellalar, Thondaimandala Kondaikatti Vellalar, Kaikolar, Muthali/Mudali from Kerala, Hyderabad and Bangalore Mudaliars, Nanjil Mudaliars, Gatti Mudalis of Taramangalam and Sri Lankan Mudaliyars use the title Mudaliars.

In the beginning, they have chosen agriculture as their primary profession and now most of them have moved into their own businesses, government jobs, private sectors, research and politics. They also have travelled and settled into places all over India and in overseas countries. The community consists of vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians.

The wedding ceremonies among different Mudaliar communities are very elaborate. The following are the most important and common rituals followed by them during the marriage.

Nichiyathartham or the Engagement:
Nichiyathartham will take places when the parents of the groom express their liking for the bride and convey their proposal for arranging of the marriage to the bride’s parents. The suggestion if agreed by the bride’s parents will lead to Nichiyathartham or signing of a memorandum by both the families. On the Nichiyathartham day grooms family as a custom will present the would be bride with jewels, sari, different fruits and dry fruits in 21 plates along with other items such as sugar cubes, flowers, fruits, turmeric, coconut and betel leaves and nut.

During the Nichyathartham Lagna Pathrikkai or the marriage contract form is read. It will mention the auspicious day and time fixed for marriage and both the parents will affix their signature as a sign of agreement.

Bride’s family will present the Pathrikkai along with gifts to the groom’s family and the occasion is known in Tamil as Thambulam Mattruthal. Elders from the family of bride will use the occasion to mention the gifts such as jewels, land or house property and vehicle if any that the bride will carry to the house of groom on completion of the marriage.
Signing of the contract will signify that the engagement is complete. Then both the sides will start the other marriage related works such as fixing a wedding hall, cooking arrangement and printing and distribution of invitation and others. A traditional mudaliar marriage will be performed for three days..
As per the established custom the groom’s family will buy the wedding and reception silk saris for the bride. The family of the bride will buy the wedding suit and other dresses for the groom. Some of the affluent families will also buy cloths and other articles that are to be presented to their relatives during the marriage. Most of the time, both the families, will make the purchases on reciprocally convenient dates well before the marriage day.

Pandakkal is an important wedding ritual after the Nichyathartham ceremony. Both the families will perform Pillayar Pujai (Ganapathi Pooja) to invoke the blessings of the elephant god for the long-lasting union of the couples. The brides as well as the groom’s family will put up a fabricated structure standing on four legs known as Kalyana Pandhal before their house to denote the beginning of the auspicious occasion.
Nine elderly married women will decorate the bamboo pillars with dots of turmeric (manjal) and vermilion (kumkum) in odd numbers. Also in nine separate vessels nine assorted varieties of pulses are kept soaked in water. The vessels are properly covered with husk for quick germination. The vessels are kept in upside down condition to enable the pulses to sprout after germination. After a few days the vessels are kept in turned up and right state to enable the sprouts to come over the surface and grow. The occasion is known in Tamil as Mozhakattuthal. The sprouts, which signify the beginning and growth of a new relationship between the families, will be carefully nurtured till the day of marriage.

Nalangu or Beautification of the bride:
Women from both the families will dominate the crowded Nalangu ritual. Over a wooden board a banana leaf is kept and uncooked rice is spread over it. The bride is asked to sit over the arrangement. Three small-sized stools placed close to the bride will have a) sandalwood paste, vermilion and rose-water, b) betel leaf, nut and flowers and c) Arthi – red colour water prepared using a mix of turmeric and lime. Each of the married women invited for the marriage from the bride and groom side will smear the sandalwood paste over the hands of the bride, place little vermilion on her forehead and sprinkle rose-water on her head and perform Arathi to signify her blessings to the bride.

Maapilai Azhaippu or the receiving of the Bridegroom:
During the Maapillai Azhaippu, the groom and his family are taken on a procession and the bride’s brother or uncle will garland them. The practice of taking the groom in a car, from the temple to the place of marriage, preceded by the playing Nadaswaram an Indian instrument and western band still prevails in small towns and villages. Gifts will also be carried by the uncle or brother of bride to the home of the groom before the marriage to invite him for the marriage. The women from the bride’s side will receive the groom with the traditional Arathi. A simple Nalangu is performed separately for both the groom as well as to the bride on their arriving to the place of marriage.

Mangala Snaanam:
A Pandaal or Pandakal using four bamboo sticks is erected before the wedding hall. It is beautified using banana tree stalks, tender coconut, mango leaves and flowers. On the day of wedding, the bride and groom will separately reach the pandaal or pandakal before sunrise.  Elders from both the families will apply sesame oil and green gram flour on their forehead and turmeric powder on their hands. The bride and groom will have Mangala Snaanam (oil bath) on this day, to welcome their marriage. The clothes worn by the bride and groom before taking the mangala snaanam are given to a washerman or washerwoman.

Arasan Kal or Installing of a bamboo stick before the marriage platform
The Arasan Kal ceremony is performed to offer prayer to the sacred Fig Tree (Arasu) and to respect the king as in olden days.  Five elderly married women who are living with their husbands (Sumangali) will conduct the ceremony.  After offering prayers to the Fig tree (Arasu) the women will cleanse an erected bamboo stick kept before the marriage pandhal with milk, smear the sandalwood paste over it and apply vermilion on it. They will also tie a silk scarf around it and finally perform Arathi. The bamboo stick represents the King (Arasan) who in the olden days used to grace the marriage occasion and bless the couple. The pooja is conducted to honour the king.

The groom will then wash the feet of his parents and request their blessings for a happy married life. His parent’s will in-turn blesses him.

Kasi Yatra:
According to Hindu sashthira an unmarried bachelor has option to choose either the married life (Grihasta) or the life of a Sanyasi renouncing the worldly pleasures. The groom will mockingly act that he prefers to become a Sanyasi and to leave for Kasi instead of the marriage hall. He will carry a handheld bamboo fan known as Visiri, an umbrella and slippers and pretend to move. Immediately the father of the bride will step in and persuade him explaining the benefits of married life and promise him that he will marry his daughter to him. In some of the families the brother of the bride will complete the persuading act and request the groom to marry his sister. The groom who will be reluctantly returning to the marriage hall is received by performing Arathi.

Mahalakshmi Puja and Pada Puja
The bride will perform Mahalakshmi Puja to the Mangalyam, supposedly to carry the form of Goddess Mahalakshmi, to receive her blessings. Then she will do Pada Puja to her parents seeking their blessings.
After performing the Mahalakshmi Puja the bride will wear the new cloths presented to her by the groom’s family and groom will wear the dress provided by bride’s family. Both the bride and the groom after wearing the garlands will enter the marriage altar (pandal) for continuing the marriage ceremony.

Ganapati Homam:
The priest chosen to carry out the marriage proceedings will perform Ganapathi Homam to invoke the blessings of God Ganapathi to help the couple in joining of their marriage life. He will also arrange to do Upanayanam ceremony for the groom and tie the sacred thread around the chest of the groom.

Manai Pongal
As per the tradition parents of the groom will cook rice in five or seven clay pots specially bought for the occasion when the groom and bride will be busy with their dressing. The parents will offer the cooked rice Pongal to all the deities who have made their symbolic presence at the marriage altar. The eldest sumangali women of the family will then greet the couple with garlands and take them to the altar.

The priest selected to perform the marriage ceremony will lit the sacred fire called homam as a witness for the marriage proceedings. The bride as asked by the priest will tie a sacred yellow thread known as Kanganam, attached to a piece of turmeric, around the wrist of groom, to signify the bestowing of right to him to touch her. After some time groom will tie the Kanganam on the wrist of the bride.

The father of the bride will perform the ceremony among the chanting of Vedic verses thus agreeing to give his daughter in marriage to the groom. During the ceremony the parents of the bride will place the hand of the bride carrying a coconut in the hands of groom thus announcing symbolically that their daughter will become dependent of the groom.

Mangalya Dharanam
The tying of the Mangalyam thread around the neck of the bride by groom is the vital aspect of a marriage. The thread consists of 108 strings dipped in turmeric with a gold pendant resembling the tooth of a tiger placed in the middle of it.  During the olden days the tiger tooth shape of the mangalyam was actually made of tiger tooth taken from the tiger killed by the groom.

At the predefined and most auspicious time known as subha-muhurtham the groom will tie the first knot of the Mangalyam around the neck of the bride and his sister will complete it with two more knots. Such an arrangement symbolises that the bride becomes a part of the groom’s family. During the tying of the knot the traditional Nadhaswaram and melam combination known as mangala vadhyam is played. All the elders present at the dais will shower Akshadai a combination of rice and turmeric paste and flowers over the couple, bless them and offer prayers for their successful marriage life.

After the Mangalya Dharanam, the couple will exchange their garlands three times. The exchanging of garlands signifies that they have become married couple. Uncles from the groom’s side and the bride’s side will tie a piece of gold over the groom and brides forehead to showcase their relationship. This ceremony is known as Pattam or wearing of pattam.

Laaja Homam:
Agni the god of fire is symbolically represented in the Homam conducted during the marriage. Immediately on completion of Mangalyatharanam the homam is performed using branch-lets of nine types of trees and ghee as fuel of sacrifice. The homam signifies that the Agni stands as witness for the marriage (Agni Saakshi).  The bride and groom will then offer their prayer by going around the sacred fire (Agni) three times. The brother of the bride will place the puffed rice in the hands of the couple and offer it to the sacred fired as sacrifice. After completing the homam the couples as directed by the priest will view the place in the sky where the star Arundhathi is supposed to be located. Arundhathi the mythical goddess is known for maintaining the moral virtue and chastity.

Sesha is arranged to receive the blessings of the elderly people who attend the marriage.  A piece of white cloth is kept in a spread condition before the bride and groom inside the Pandhal and uncooked raw rice is kept over it.  Each of the elderly members of the family will take a handful of the rice, bless the couple with the rice in their hands and drop it in front of the couple.

Sammandhi Mariyathai
To promote goodwill and friendly approach between them both the families will exchange gifts and new cloths among them after the wedding. In some of the families such exchanges take place before the marriage.

On conclusion of all the marriage rites the bride and groom are taken to their new home where they will be starting their life as a couple after the marriage. Groom’s family will welcome the bride with traditional Arathi and a ceremonial lunch party will be given to all the members of the family invited for the occasion.

On the evening of the wedding day a reception is arranged and invitation is given to all the relatives and friends of both the families to bless the couple and attend a grand dinner.

Disclaimer: the information provided in the write up is collected from various sources and we believe them as correct. We will be happy to receive corrections if any. Please send your mail with details to

Gounder Community Marriage Rituals

Kongu Vellalars or Kongu Vellala Gounders are known by a common name Gounders. They are known as the descendants of warriors, who fought for the Chola and Chera kingdoms in South India. In the latter years, their interest in the agricultural development has earned them the name Kongu Vellala Gounders. The community is also called by other names, which include Nattu Gounders-Kattu Gounders, Narambukatti Gounders, Senthalai Gounders, Padathalai Gounders, and Irumudi Gounders.
Gounder community is more prominent in places such as Palani Taluq of Madurai, Salem, Dharmapuri, Periyar and Coimbatore districts. The total area of their living covers around 7500 Sq. miles and it is commonly known as the Kongu Region. Though the region has a number of flowing rivers such as Cauveri, Neyyar, Amaravathi and Bhavani, being in a dry plain it receives only scanty annual rainfall. The area mostly depends on deep bore ground wells for irrigation.
Gounder caste includes 145 family names also known as kootam, gothram, or clan. The names often resemble the name of a flower (Araiyan), tree (Oodaalan), fish (Avuriyan), a bird (Antuvan) or human body parts. The names of the kootams are similar to the names used during the old Tamil Sangam period. Each of this Kootam will worship their own Kula deivam or family deity and follow their Kulaguru. They normally offer prayers at the temples of their own specific deities. They avoid and do not arrange marriages between the two families of the same Kulam or Koottam.
The community known for their hard work follows well refined wedding customs which amply reflect their living style. Every rite performed during their marriage is unique and carry a specific reason. These marriage rituals follow old Tamil Sangam age practices as a base. Over the time they have undergone changes in tone with the available facilities, changing habits and technology while some of them do not exist now.

Porutham Parthal
In Gounder community parents arrange most of the marriages. After confirming the willingness of their son or daughter for marriage, the parents, will spread the news across their close relatives and friends, announcing their intentions about the search for a suitable match. The factors that play a crucial role in the bride or groom selection include matching of horoscope, economic and social status of the family, their financial conditions and earning capabilities, and the level of education.

Sagunam Parthal
After both the families mutually get satisfied about the matching of their son or daughters horoscope with that of a received horoscope, they will go ahead towards the next step of Sagunam Parthal. They will seek favorable omens to take further steps in fixing the marriage. They believe in sagunams such as the movement flowers placed before their Kula Deivam, or the sound of a lizard or any other good omen that best conveys the blessings of the god. After getting convinced about the favorable Sagunams, both the families will visit each other. They will do this to have first hand information about the land, house possessions, living status of the other family. On mutual satisfaction, the families will then try to confirm the marriage by performing Nichyadhaartham ceremony.

Nichyadhaartham also known as Nichaya thamboolam is arranged on a convenient and auspicious day. The bridegroom’s family will visit the house of the bride or a place specially chosen for the purpose along with their relatives and friends to conduct the ceremony. Both the families and friends will sit in rows opposite to each other to enable easy discussion between them. A tripod is kept in between the two rows, over which a plate with betel and Areca, and fruits is placed.

The groom’s side will initiate the discussion asking the bride’s side to accept the marriage proposal. This will be gladly reciprocated by the bride’s side. Then the groom and the bride’s side will exchange the plates containing fruits, betel and Areca as confirmation of the Nichayadhaartham. The groom’s side will present the bride a new dress especially chosen for the occasion. The bride will wear the dress for the Nichayadhaartham. She will keep lemon, turmeric, Areca nut and betel in her lap and offer her respect for all the elders who have come to attend the function. Then both the families will fix up an approximate date, time and venue for the marriage. The bride’s family will complete the occasion by offering a grand feast known as ‘parupanchotru virundhu’ (a feast comprises of rice and dhal) to the groom’s family.
Some of the pure Tamil names related to the rites performed before the marriage include pariyam iduthal, kulam kodhudhal and muhurthakaal naattudhal.

Invitation for marriage:
During the olden days the Kudimagan chosen for the occasion will extend the invitation on behalf of the families. While extending the invitation, he will mention the number of persons expected to attend from each invited families. Families will consider his invitation as prestigious and those families that did not get his personal invite may choose to boycott the marriage. Currently only printed invitation cards are used to invite the families. The bride or groom’s family will extend personal invitation only to their close family relatives and friends and for others while for others they use courier or postal services.

Rites before marriage:
In Gounder marriages the ceremonial marriage rites are elaborately conducted for three days. They follow the old Sangam period marriage traditions and such traditions do not include chanting of Vedic hymns and rising of holy fire. The Gounder marriages offer a very good scope for participation from other communities. The other communities that partake in the marriage rituals include Navidhar (barber), Vannar (washer man), Kuyavar (potter), Kammalar (carpenter), Maadhaari (cobbler), and Pandaram (cook).
Arumaikaarar a revered and senior member of the community blessed with a wife and child/children will conduct the marriage ceremonies. He is also respectably called by other names such as Pudavaikaarar, Seerkaarar and Arumaiperiyavar. Similarly a senior woman member is selected as Arumaikaari. The chosen woman would have completed a procedure known as Ezhudhingam under an Arumaikarar when her daughter or son has attained the marriage age. Arumaikaari along with Arumaikaarar also will conduct certain marriage rituals.

Next to Arumaikaarar the Navidhar (Barber) gets the respect and he plays a significant role in the marriage. Affectionately called as Kudimagan, he performs the role of inviting the relatives for the marriage, calls the relatives before every specific ritual of the marriage and sings the Mangala vaazhthu song thus assisting the Arumaikaarar. He also completes the haircut and shaving procedures performed on the groom before the marriage. The Vannar erects the colorfully decorated temporary shed (Pandhal) for the marriage, while the Potter supplies the earthen pots needed for the marriage rituals. The Kammalar provides the boxes made f wood and the box to be used for madaikalam vaithal.

Naal Virundhu (1st day of the marriage)
The Gounder  marriage commences with Naal Virundhu on the first day. The feast is arranged by the close relatives of the bridegroom and the bride. Such feast arranged by the relatives of both the sides creates a comfortable atmosphere between the families.

Muhurtha Kaal (2nd Day)
It is a common practice among the Gounder community to offer voluntary services to the bride’s side before and during the marriage and to assist the other marriage related works. On the second day of the marriage the relatives of the bride will jointly make all the needed arrangements such as serving the relatives during the feasts, cutting of firewood and steaming of the paddy. They will also install the pandhal under which the marriage will be performed.Three arumaikaarars will erect the muhurtha kaal to showcase the commencement of the marriage. During the marriage rituals on the second day a specific type of loud beating instrument is played.

Muhurtham (3rd Day)
The third day of the marriage is very important. The marriage gets completed with the tying of thali at the fixed muhurtham time. During the ceremony the bridegroom and the bride will wear the traditional dresses and sit over a raised platform. The bridegroom will tie the thali or mangala naan around the neck of the bride. The mangala vadyams or sacred instruments will be played during the occasion. Exchanging of garlands will mark completion of the wedding rituals. The marriage rites such as Kaappu Kattudhal, Tharai varthal and Kaithalam pattrudhal performed before and during the marriage point out the rights and responsibilities bestowed on the couples through the marriage.

Events associated with the marriage

Mangala Vaazthu
Reciting Mangala Vaazthu is an exclusive event during Gounder marriages. Poet Kambar wrote the song in pure Tamil to honour Sadayappa Vallal a Kongu vellalar. It describes the entire range of events that takes place during the marriage and compares it with that of those that happen in a royal family. The song highly praises the marriage as an institution while blessing the newly married couple.

Aarathi Eduthal
Aarathi Eduthal an important event in marriages and it is performed at the end of all the marriage ceremonies. The elderly women chosen for the purpose will hold a plate containing red coloured water made using a mix of turmeric and lime. The plate with lighted camphor will be taken in clockwise and anti clockwise motions before the newly married couple. Such an act is believed to ward off the evil eye cast during the marriage and protect the couple.

Senjoru Aindhadai Suttrudhal & Arugumanam seidhal’
Senjoru Aindhadai Suttrudhal & Arugumanam seidhal rituals are performed after completing all the marriage ceremonies. They intend to end and get rid of the blight induced due to evil eye during the marriage celebrations.

Kalyana Virundhu
The Gounder marriage is complete only after the Kalyana Virundhu. It includes extravagant and lavish vegetarian food items served on plantain leaves. The feast will adequately serve taste buds of the guests to bring them joy.

Disclaimer: the information provided in the write up is collected from various sources and we believe them as correct. We will be happy to receive corrections if any. Please send your mail with details to

Understand the Issues Related to Dating by the Couple Whose Marriage is Fixed

Dating culture was not generally known to Indians, especially the south Indians up in the nineties and some years beyond. Though, it was happening in the higher strata of society and among the rich, they too maintained a low profile about it. The lower and middle class families, never encouraged dating before the marriage and were hesitant to encourage it even after the fixing of the marriage date.

During the later part of the nineties, the introduction of the Internet and high bandwidth leased lines has enabled the entry of foreign BPO and software companies. Such companies, while increasing the job opportunities and offering a higher level of pay and perks to the deserving job seekers , also have brought in changes in the outlook of the society. The society that was up till then discouraging women from attending shift duties and night duties, started allowing them to join such organisations, in order  to become breadwinners and independent wage earners.

Presently, there is a change in the outlook of the parents. Some of them even encourage their wards, whose marriages are fixed or engaged, to go out with the partner if there are a couple of months left before the actual marriage date. Such an arrangement, enables the couple to look back their romance period after the marriage. The question that normally arise in the mind of parents or the couple is about the proximity to be maintained between the couple during such dating, and whether to allow any extra freedom for the engaged couple. While such questions are continuously debated, the dating has  steadily gained momentum and become more prevalent.

Such courtship or dating also has some positive aspects. It allows the couple to know each other more intimately and enables them to have a concrete idea about their life partner. It is advisable for the couple to open up slowly and allow the relationship to blossom naturally.

Dating before marriage also presents the lurking danger about misunderstanding each other. One should be careful in the exchange words and never give room for ambiguity and possible misreading of an expression. Exercise more care, while making comments with those who are reserved or those who feel very much excited. Balance your thoughts and try to stride an easy approach that increases the pleasure and reduce discomfort.

It is your exclusive right, to open up or leave the discussion on your past relationships if you had any. Most of the couple, would prefer to forget and put aside such events, instead of precipitating. It is essential for the dating couple to use their common sense in deciding what to disclose and what not to disclose. They must try to use the opportunity to understand the plus and minus points of the partner to adjust and lead a happy life.