That time of the year when soulmates unite, lifelong commitment is made to share their life and grow old together. Yes, the celebration season is on with wedding invitations rolling in, where the bride and groom have a headrush and butterflies overcome their senses while the luster of a bright future engulf their thoughts.
In these days of trans continental weddings , I have a Gujrati, Kannada and Punjabi invitation and some invitations are from my own community, the venue in my birth town which I would have to give a miss, which in turn means giving the colorful festivities and feast a miss.
Like in any of our subcontinental wedding, even tamil iyer weddings are celebrated richly, ritualistically traditionally and colorfully.
Most wedding halls in Tamilnadu would be adorned with full grown plaintain trees, signifying evergreen plenty for endless generations and overhead festoons of mango leaves and coconut glades signify the never fading bonding which would begin there(though scientifically it has a different reason). Mellifluous sounds of nadaswaram reaches its crescendo signifying everyone present that the union of two souls is sacred and divine. Beautiful kolams in white and red would match the mood of the occasion ushering in the well wishers dressed in rustling silk sarees and white veshti’s( dhoti) or their traditional best.
All guests would be welcomed by the sprinkle of the perfumed rosewater, flowers and sugar candy(mishri) /
In its festive splendor it is a fitting beginning to the richness of the wedding to follow. What was once a five day affair during my MIL’s time( she was married in the 40’s at the age of 12) has now been reduced to a 2 day affair or in some cases it also has been briefed to a few hours at the temple or at the civil court, arya samaj or in a hotel.
These days the bride and groom design their own website and roll out invitations defining the various rituals and their significance. In an arranged marriage, It all begins with the matching of horoscopes and then the mutual like of the bride, groom and their families and once this is over. The preparations begin for the celebrations.
Sharing with you all what I found in one of the invitations.
Ah!....no...no... wait......Before that an interesting anecdote, I had a tam brahm neighbor who was an army personnel. He was very spiritual and a follower of one of the famous Indian saint who died recently. He was looking for an alliance for his only son who was an engineer in the United states. He left for the US the following month and so handed his house keys and car for its upkeep and care to us. Before leaving he told me and my husband that his main job in the US would be to look for a suitable girl for his son through the various matrimonial sites and asked us also to let him know if we knew a suitable girl in our community.
And guess what we hear from him the following week. He called us to tell in a sing-song voice that his would-be dil is a brit-american girl Catherine Box.
Is'nt that how the weddings are these days? Global and trans continental. I just can’t stop admiring at many such parents who are broad minded , progressive, adjust and adapt so well to the new relationship and there are so many such parents now. Of course, that uncle related to me how he debated the cultural differences with his son but to change his culturally conditioned mind at the age of 60 needs lot of maturity.
And yes, I have seen that girl who on a visit to India last navrathri wore a saree and gave haldi-kunkum to all the invited ladies .
A pretty long post, so will post the rituals and their significance in my next post.