Saturday, September 4, 2010

So Many Weddings!

So Avani Masam, began August 17 and ends September 16th seems to be the season of weddings! When you drive down the street you'll see kalyana mandapam (or wedding halls) decorated with lights and signs stating who's wedding it is.

And of course it is filled with so many people and  food! The weddings I went to were Tamil Brahman weddings and last for 3 days, although where I went they 'shorted' it to 2 & 1/2 days.
There are a lot of rituals and ceremonies and I will try to explain a few.
But first, the food....Yum!

On the first day, is a very religious day where they get the blessings from the ancestors. This is called Viradham, and they receive blessings from the priest as well after giving them banana, rice etc. The religious prayers are done separately for both families.
The second event is the Nitchayadhartham (a similar event happens during the engagment and happens again during the wedding). Where the groom and bride side exchange saree and gifts. 
The next day is the actual wedding! They exchange garlands, and it becomes sort of a game when the bride and grooms uncles carry them to see if they can throw the garland onto the other person's neck. After the exchange, they sit on the swing together and the married women will sprinkle milk on their feet and give them milk and fruit. 

After this, the bride sits on her father's lap and is 'given' to the groom who accepts her. This is a sad part of the ceremony for the bride since it symbolizes that she is no longer part of her old family and belongs to the groom. 
Mangalasutra: sacred wedding rope tied on the bride

The big event when the mangalasutra is tied onto the bride. It is tied once by the groom and twice by the groom's sister. 
 Usually in the evenings they have a Nalangu where the bride and groom get to know each other (though that's starting to go out of vogue) and a reception to congratulate the newly weds. 

Click here to see more of my pictures of everything at the wedding and of an Indian engagement party

For more information about this type of wedding, I found a great site that gives more explanation an pictures of everything that I didn't have a chance to take, Click here.