Chettiar weddings are full of beauty and tradition. The Chettiar community is in touch with its rich culture and so are Chettiar wedding rituals. That’s what makes Chettiar weddings even more special. A typical Chettiar wedding lasts six days and is an elaborate event with a neverending list of ceremonies and rituals.
However, before diving further into the vibrant Chettiar wedding traditions, the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be must first receive approval from the groom's respective temple before the marriage ceremonies can start. The temple officials bring the garlands for the couple to the wedding location as a token of their approval of the union. On that note, let’s get to know all about the amazing Chettiar wedding rituals!
Chettiar Wedding Rituals
The Chettiar community is known by many names, including Chetti, Chetty, Nagarathar, and Chettiyar. However, they go by Chettiar mostly. Chettiar is a predominantly Hindu Tamil-speaking community with roots in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka. The name indicates that the Chettiar community came from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu. It is a business community that has been renowned for hundreds of years for their great sense of business, social standing, and contributions to charitable endeavors.
This community's cultural history is extremely rich and exemplifies their success beautifully. The same applies for their weddings. Chettiar wedding rituals are just as unique as their values. If you are a Chettiar or are getting married into a Chettiar family, you must learn about Chettiar wedding traditions. For your convenience, we at WeddingBazaar, have explained them all below.
Pen Paarthal/Vaali Vanguthal
The bride and her family and the groom's parents and a few other close relatives meet at a common location. Now that the times have changed, the groom now goes to meet the bride with his family. A silver bucket containing coconut, banana, beetle nuts, and beetle leaves is offered by the bride's family to the groom's family.
Pesi Mudithu Kolludhal
The groom's family will accept the silver bucket as a sign of the bride's acceptance into the family. They trade beetle nuts and leaves to demonstrate their affirmation. The couple's parents then confer with astrologers to determine a suitable date for the marriage.
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Muhurtha Kaal Unrudhal
Relatives arrive four to five days prior to the wedding once the date is fixed. This is the first Chettiar wedding ritual. The top of a bamboo cane is decorated with mango leaves. Iyer who is the Pandit, performs puja, and the bride and groom's close relatives store manjal and kungumam at five different locations throughout the cane. It is tied up straight and is referred to as "Muhurtha kaal." This notifies those in the neighborhood that a marriage will take place at this house.
Shot by Focuz Studios™, Chennai
Veetu Padaippu/Podhu padaippu
Every family offers a veetu padaippu (family prayer) to their ancestors in their ancestral home, and all the "pangalis'' gather to offer a joint prayer known as "podhu padaippu." Every achi makes paniayaram (made of rice flour and karuppatti, or jaggery) for podhu padaippu, which is typically held at the common house known as padaippu veedu. Each family receives one after the padaippu. The day before the wedding, the bride and groom's close relatives, known as pangali's and thaya pillaigal, would visit their homes to prepare the nadu veetu kolam and manai kolam.
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On the day of the wedding, the groom's family arrives at the bride's house prior to the actual "muhurtham," but they do not enter the house. The bride's family greets them as they wait in a community centre or at a temple.
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Pen Idukki kattuthal
The bride is brought to the door where she meets the groom when he arrives at her residence. In the past, this was the bride and groom's first formal meeting, or rather their first sighting. Only the groom's close relatives get to see the bride for "pen Parkuthal."
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The couple's maternal uncles serve as the wedding felicitators in this custom. They encircle their bodies with a pink, fluorescent silk towel called a mamakara pattu. The bride is brought to the groom, who is seated in the manal, by her maternal uncle. The bride wears a Chettiyar thaali or Kaluthiru, which is tied around her neck by the groom on the day of the wedding. A gold thaali is then provided for daily use.
Shot by Mystic Studios, Chennai
The bride's family contributes food grains and vegetables as a sign of their wealth during this ceremony. The bride's maternal uncle carries this and gives it to the groom's family. The groom's maternal uncle then assists in transporting these to the groom's house.
Poo Manam Choridhal
The bride and groom are required to sit with their legs folded during this blessing ceremony. The couple's folded legs are adorned with a few petals that the male family elders tak out from a bowl. The petals are subsequently tossed behind the couple after being placed on their shoulders as well. This Chettiar wedding ritual represents the couple's gaining blessings from the elders.
Shot by Mystic Studios, Chennai
Manjal Neeru Aduthal
Cousins use manjal neer, or turmeric water, to wash the feet of the couple. The two samandhis dip the tip of their garments in the water. They used to bathe in the past, but now it's only a formality for the ritual where they dip in the water containing turmeric.
Mana Pen Solli Kolluthal
The bride bids her parents and family farewell in this heartfelt ceremony. The bride experiences intense emotion and hardship during this time as she must relive her childhood memories and her family's love as she leaves her home to become a wfe and assume new responsibilities for her new family.
Kattu Soaru Unnuthal
In the past, the groom and his family had to travel for at least a day to welcome the daughter-in-law to their home. Food is packed so they can eat it while travelling. The groom and his family typically rest by a tank or pond that they come across while travelling, and eat the packaged food (kattu), which is soaru, or rice. This Chettiar wedding ritual is till practised in some areas.
In this Chettiar wedding ritual, the bride receives a warm welcome as a member of the groom's family. Before the couple is invited to the groom's house, they are typically brought to a temple in their hometown. When the bride arrives, many interesting activities are carried out to help her settle in and build friendly relationships with the groom's family members. Games are played between the bride and the groom where the couple must choose who will take on which responsibilities around the house and how their post-marriage life will unfold. This ceremony is full of fun.
Source Kishor Krishnamoorthi
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Chettiar weddings are truly one of a kind. From rituals deep rooted in culture to fun games, you will see everything at a Chettiar wedding and will absolutely enjoy it. Now that you know all about Chettiar wedding rituals, it will be an even more fun experience to attend a Chettiar wedding.