Nagarathar Marriages

Marriages all over India are celebrated with great celebration and people possess immense pride in their respective rituals or cultures. People across the globe, also agree on the fact that Indian marriages are a true portrayal of the cultural believes of the citizens of the country. The rituals and ceremonies of Indian marriages vary according to their religions and the regions to which the people belong. Diversity in cultural believes and religious ceremonies is a common practise, which can be observed in every nook and corner of the country. There are many religions in India, which many people even don’t know about; they usually originate, due to impact of one or the other cultural believes and the differences in the type and the methods of practising the same culture and customs.

One of the communities, which is rarely known and is practised in very small places, is Nagarathar. The people of this community belong to the Kaveripoompattinam, also known to be originating from the India’s chola kingdom. This is primarily famous as a prominent caste in the southern region of India, i.e. from Tamil Nadu. Each person of the Nagarathar community comes under the influence of any of the nine temples, and even the marriages in the Nagarathar culture takes place in between the people of different temples. The followers of the same temple are considered as siblings, so marriages among the Nagarathar followers of the same temple are not permitted.

Nagarathar Marriages in the earlier days were an occasion of a single day, but with the change in times, the practices and the cultures related to marriage have been changing. The Nagarathar marriages usually take place in a single day, by going to the Nagara Village. Though these people stay away from their villages, but they prefer going to their ancestor’s village for conducting the marriage ceremonies. Following is an explanation of the ceremonies practised in the Nagarathar marriages:

Before marriage:

Pen paarthal: This is the ceremony, when the bride and groom meet each other for the first time, with their families. This is the time, when the decision is made, whether the families likes each other’s son or daughter and accept them as their son- in- law or daughter- in- law or not. If both the families accept the alliance, then they exchange silver bucket full of coconuts, beetle leaves and nuts and bananas.

Pesi mudithu kolludhal: After the alliance for the marriage gets fixed, the family of the bride and groom calls an astrologer and fixes the date of marriage with his consent.

Muhurtha kaal unrudhal: The relatives start arriving four- five days before the marriage day, at the respective houses of the bride and the groom. The very first ceremony observed before the marriage is the fitting of a bamboo cane with mango leaves on the top, after which puja is done in both the houses of the bride and the groom. The bamboo is then fitted up straight signifying that marriage is being conducted in the house.

Veetu padaippu/podhu padaippu: This is the ancestral puja done jointly by the family members at the house of their ancestors to seek blessings from them for the marriage of their son or daughter.

Marriage day:

Mappillai azhaipu: The groom’s family and relatives arrive at the village of the bride, hours before the mahurat, and stay at a community hall or in some ancestral temple, where the bride’s father goes with a band to welcome the groom’s side. The groom’s side is not allowed to enter the bride’s house before the mahoorat.

Pen edukki kattuthal: After the groom reaches the bride’s house, she is brought outside to meet the groom.

Thirupotuthal: The bride is brought by her maternal uncle sitting on the manai, where both the maternal uncle of the bride and the groom wears a towel which is fluorescent pink color.

Vaevu irakkuthal: This ceremony takes place at the groom’s house, where the maternal uncle of the bride gives her a basket, which is full of brinjal and rice, denoting the giving of wealth in the form of food grains to the bride.

Mamiyar sadangu: The mother- in -law carries cotton, betel leaves, manjal and vibhuti, all of them which she appilies on herself first, then on her daughter- in- lwa, one by one.

Poo manam choridhal: In this ceremony, blessing from the elder male members of the family are taken by the bride and the groom, wherein the elders, bless the bride and groom with flower petals, by placing on their folded legs, shoulders and heads.

Manjal neeru aduthal: In this ceremony, the feet of the couple is washed by the turmeric paste, by their cousins.

Saman parapudhal: During this ceremony of the Nagarathar Marriages, the gifts to be given at the time of marriage from the both the sides of the groom as well as the bride are displayed in front of the relatives, to show their power in terms of wealth.

Kumbuttu kattikolluthal: This is the ceremony, where the bride seeks blessing from all the elders of the bride and the groom’s family, by touching their feet. The blessings are to have a fertile future generation.

Mana pen solli kolluthal: This is the moment, when eyes of each and every member of the family is full with tears, where in the bride leaves her maternal house and heads towards a new life towards the house of her in- laws.

Pen azhaippu: This occasion signifies the formal welcome of the bride in her new house, by the groom’s family. The couple, before being taken to the groom’s house, is taken to a temple nearby, to seek blessing from the god, to start a happy and a blessed married life.