Nair weddings are the epitome of simplicity. Even though Nayars hold their cultural values very close to their heart, their weddings are all about a fuss-free celebration of the union of two souls. Nair wedding rituals are comparatively lesser in number which ensures a seamless and joyful wedding. If you are a Nayar yourself or are getting married into a Nair family, you must get yourself accustomed to the sweet and simple Nayar wedding rituals. We, at WeddingBazaar, have explained all of them. Read along and get to know all about Nair wedding rituals!
Nair Wedding Rituals
Nairs are a Hindu caste from the South Indian state of Kerala. Also known as Nayar, they fall under the warrior class. Nair wedding rituals don’t have a lot of religious compulsions and are known for their brevity. Nayar weddings are conducted in a nearby temple which is convenient for both the bride and the groom. It may be a little hard to believe but most Nair weddings only take 15 minutes. This is because there are not as many rituals.
So, without further ado, let’s learn all about the Kerala Nair wedding rituals.
Source Made in Mono
Muhurtham is the first step that the families of the bride and the groom take. This pre-wedding Nair wedding tradition of Muhurtham entails a visit to the astrologer where the Kundalis of the bride and groom are matched to check whether they are suitable for each other. Once the astrologer gives a nod to both families signifying that the bride and the groom are indeed a good match, a wedding date is fixed which is known as ‘Muhurtham’.
Nischayam is the official engagement ceremony where the wedding is announced to the near and dear ones of the bride and groom. During Nischayam, the bride and groom exchange rings as a token of their love and acceptance of each other. It is a celebration where the soon-to-be husband and wife and their families eat, drink, sing, dance and enjoy. Gifts are also exchanged between the two families.
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This custom which is also known as the pre-nuptial blessing takes place the day before the big day. The pre-wedding nair wedding ritual of Aashirwadam is a must for all Kerala marriages. This ceremony is attended by the bride and groom's closest relatives and family members. It is performed to seek blessings from loved ones and elders for a happy and prosperous married life. The bride wears a beautiful silk saree, and the groom is dressed in traditional attire as well. They touch the feet of their elders as a form of respect and seek their blessings for the wedding.
A Mehendi ceremony takes place at the bride’s home where henna is applied on the bride’s hands and feet in the prettiest and most intricate designs. We love how instead of a Mehendi artist, the Nayar community assigns the task of applying the henna design to the beloved aunts of the bride.
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In this Hindu Nair wedding ritual, to the sound of Nadaswarams which are long wind instruments, the bride's family welcomes the groom's family at the entrance of the wedding venue. While the younger brother of the bride cleans his feet, the groom stands on a wooden plank. The bride's maternal aunts present the groom with an aarti. Two rows of young girls then accompany the groom to the mandapam.
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Now, to the sound of the nadaswarams, the bride is escorted by her mother or aunt to the mandapam where she is forced to stand facing east and the groom facing her. The groom ties the golden "thaali," around the bride's neck at the auspicious moment determined by the astrologer for the Muhurtham. During this auspicious moment, ceremonial ululating sounds are made by women which is known as Vai Kurava accompanied by a special beating of drums known as Ketti Melam.
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The bridegroom presents the bride with a sari and a blouse on a platter, promising that he will now take on the responsibility of providing for her life. This ritual is known as Pudamuri. The couple exchange garlands and accept each other as life partners. During this ritual, the bride and groom promise to love and respect each other for life.
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The bride's father now keeps the right hand of the bride on the groom's right hand, symbolizing the transfer of responsibility for his daughter in a sacred union. After this Hindu Nair wedding ritual, the bride and the groom are taken to a room by their elderly relatives, where they bless the couple. The guests also bless the couple and give them gifts as a token of their love and support.
Sadhya is the grand feast which takes place right after the wedding. It is the moment to rejoice and eat together, celebrating the sacred union of two souls. There are twenty-five items in the meal, which is presented on a lettuce leaf. Rice, avail, curries, kalam, olan, sweets, pacchari, pappads, toran, payasam, and chaka prathaman or paladaaprathaman are among the items. There are also three different kinds of pickles. These are all classic vegetarian dishes.
The bride arrives at her new residence at a predetermined, auspicious time. She seeks the blessings from her parents and her elders. Upon arriving at her new home, the women there take the bride’s "aarthi" to ward off bad luck. The bride is asked to step inside the house with her right foot while carrying a traditional lamp. Lamps are placed all over the house, illuminating it. The bride then receives gifts and jewels from her in-laws.
Shot by Oaks Wedding, Kozhikode
Nair weddings are both lavish and brief at the same time. The love of this tightly knit community peeks through in every single one of the Hindu Nair wedding rituals. We adore the sincerity and simplicity of Nair wedding rituals. Count yourself lucky if you ever get the chance to be a part of a Nayar wedding. It is a blissful experience which you will always remember fondly.