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Nagaratharmarriage

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Nagarathars belong to one of the 9 temples (briefed in the Nagara Kovil section). People within the
same temple are considered as siblings. Apparently the bride and groom should belong to different
temples if they are to be married. However there are some exceptions to Mathur temple where there
aresubdivisionswithinthistemple.Somarriageamongbridesandgroomsofcertainsubdivisionsare
permitted. Generally people from Irani kovil and Pillayar patti will not marry, because they treat each
other as brothers & Sisters. Every Nagarathar marriage has to be approved and registered in the
respective grooms temple. Once approved,a garland would be delivered on the behalf of the temple
authoritiesontheweddingdayandonlyfromthereonthemarriagewouldbeconducted.Thiscanbe
assumedsynonymtoanapprovalcertificate.
ThemarriageceremonyoftheChettinadpeopleiscelebratedinamajesticway.Theminimumperiodof
the celebration is three days, which consists of various traditional rituals. The Chettinad people gift a
largenumberofitemstothebridefromdiamondstobroomstickinmultiplesofseven.Thoughalmostall
thenagaratharstayawayfromtheirnagaravillage/hometown,theyprefertohavetheirson/daughters
marriageintheirnative.ThemarriageinChettinadingoodolddays,wasmoreelaborateandcomplex.
Themarriageceremonywaslongdrawnprocedurepunctuatedwithvariousrituals,customsincluding
giftgivingforthewellbeingofthenewlymarriedandthusmarriagewassixdaysaffair.
Nadu Veettu Kolam is drawn by aachis using wet rice flour. Procession of bridegroom (mappillai)
accompanied by musicians together with another contingent of relatives of the bride especially the
ladieswiththeircolorfulcostumesmostlyinPattukandangii.e.handloomsilksareesisoneofthefun
filledaffairs.
BeforeMarriage
Therearefewformalitiesbeforemarriageinthenagaratharcommunity.
Penpaarthal:
Usually the prospective motherinLaw, fatherinlaw and few other close relatives go to a common
place,toseethebridetobe.Forrecent,thewouldbegroomjoinshisparentsthoughthisisnotvery
common. The grooms family is offered a silver bucket with banana and coconut along with beetle
leaves and beetle nuts. If the groom and his family like the bride they can take the silver bucket as a
tokenthattheylikethebride.ThisiscalledVaalivaanguthal.
Pesimudithukolludhal:
once the bride is approved by all, they would exchange betel leaves and nuts (vethalai pakku matri

kolluthal).Thisisaconfirmationgesturethatthebrideandthegroomarefinalized.Thebridesparents
andgroomsparent(nowcalledsambanthi)decideuponacommondaydiscussingwiththeastrologers
forthemarriage.
Muhurthakaalunrudhal:
Once the marriage date is finalized relatives arrive 45 days before marriage. This is the very first
formality related to marriage. A bamboo cane is fitted with mango leaves on the top. Puja is done by
iyer(prohith/pandith)andcloserelativesofthebrideandthegroomkeepmanjalandkungumamat5
placesinthecane.ThisiscalledMuhurthakaalanditistiedupstraight.Thisservesasanotification
toothersinthesurroundingthatamarriageisgoingtobeconductedatthishouse.
Veetupadaippu/podhupadaippu:
Everyfamilypraytotheirancestorsintheirancesstralhouse,whichisknownasveetupadaippuandall
the pangalis together perform podhu padaippu (joint prayer). In podhu padaippu which is usually
conductedatthecommonhousecalledpadaippuveedu,paniayaram(madeofriceflourandkaruppatti
jaggery)isdonebyallachisandeachfamilygetsoneafterthepadaippu.Thedaybeforemarriage
pangalis and thaya pillaigal (this is how close relatives are called), would come to both brides and
groomsplacetomakethenaduveetukolamandmanaikolam
MarriageDay
Mappillaiazhaipu:

On the day of marriage in the morning before muhurtham, the grooms family arrive at the brides
villagebutdonotenterthebrideshome.Themappillaiveetar(groomsside)arriveandwaitatsome
Pillayar(Ganesh) temple or community centres where the pen veetar (brides side) headed by brides

fathergotowelcomethemwithband.Thisiscalledmappillaiazhaippu.
Penedukkikattuthal
Whenthegroomreachesbrideshousesheisbroughttothedoorandshowntohim.Intheoldendays
thiswasthefirstofficialmeeting(ratherseeing)ofbrideandgroom.ForpenParkuthalonlythenear
relativesofthegroomseethebride.
Thirupootuthal:
The brides maternal uncle and grooms maternal uncle (Mamakarargal) wear mamakara pattu ( a
fluorescent pink silk towel) wrapped around. The groom sits in the manai. The brides maternal uncle
bringsherinthemanai.

ThegroomtieskaluthiruthesacredthreadorgoldchainorChettiyarthaaliwaswornduringtheday
of marriage and a substitute gold thaali was given for regular use. The is a double piece gold chains
generally contains a set of total 34 items of hand crafted gold ornaments including two pendants
consideredtobethemostsacred.ThependantscarryingtheimageofgoddessLakshmiatthefront
side and the icons of Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Rishaba bull in the second row. What is very
importanttonoteisthatthesetwomotifsviz.LakshmiandShivaParvathiare
often repeated theme in Chettinad, which are highly revered by the Nattukottai
Nagarathar as the former symbolizing protection and prosperity while Shiva
Parvathi pair on bull, represents happy family life. The Kaluthiru in Tamil
languagehastwodifferentmeaningsKalutherumeansthechainonneckwhile
KaluthThiru,denotestheLakshmiasThiruinTamilindicatesMahalakshmi.

Vaevuirakkuthal:
Thisisacustomwhichisfollowedtoindicatethatwealthintheformoffoodgrainsandvegetablesare
sentfromthebrideshomebyhermaternaluncleandtheirfamilyhelpedbythegroomsmaternaluncle
(itemsarecarriedontheheadinbaskets).Thenitisreceivedatthegroomshome.Thebasketusually
containsbrinjalandrice
Mamiyarsadangu:
Thisisaritualwhereinthemotherinlaw,inasilverplatewithsmallbowls(kinnam)willhaveVethalai
(betelleaf),Cotton,vibhuthi,manjal.Eachtimeshewouldtakeabitandapplyittoherselfandthento
herdaughterinlaw.Thisisrepeatedforalltheitems.
Poomanamchoridhal:
Theeldersofboththesides,diptheirhandsinthebowlwithflowerpetalsandtakeoutafewpetalsand
keep them at the seated couples folded legs, then on shoulders and throw the petals behind the
couple. This is done only by male (mostly married) relatives and not by the woman folk and this
symbolizesofblessingthecouples
Manjalneeruaduthal:
Couplesfeetiswashedbycousinswithmanjalneer(turmuricwater)Boththesamandhisdiptheirtipof
theirattireinaturmericwater.Beforetheyusedtotakebathbutinmoderndaysaformalityfortheritual
theydipintheturmericwater
Samanparapudhal:
Theitemsgivenasseer(dowry/gift)bythebridesfamilyisexhibitedtoalltherelativeswhoattendthe
marriage. This is considered a scale for the wealth and prosperity of the brides family. It contains
mappillai saman (for groom), maamiyaar saman (for mother in law) also. The grooms side also add
theirgifts(silksaree,dressescosmeticsetc.)totheprospectivedaughterinlaw.

Kumbuttukattikolluthal:
Thisisaritualwhereinthebridegetstheblessingsoftheelderswithakulamvalumpillai(krishnaidol)
in her hand. Each time the elders give it to her they bless her when she falls at her feet. This ritual
symbolizesthatthefollowinggenerationtobefertile.
Manapensollikolluthal:
An emotional moment where the bride bids farewell to her family and near and dear ones. It is quite
commontoseethebrideandherfamilymembersintears.Thebridegetstheblessingsofalltheelders
ofthefamilywhereshewasborn.
Kattusoaruunnuthal:
Duringoldendayswhenthegroomandtheirfamilytakethedaughterinlawtotheirhome,theyhadto
travelforatleastaday.Foodispackedforthemtobeconsumedontheirway.Usually,thegroomand
their family eat these packed (kattu) food (soaru rice) and take rest beside some tank/pond which
theyfindontheirway.ThistraditionisstillfollowedinNagaratharmarriages.
Penazhaippu:
This is the event where the bride is formally welcomed at the grooms home and embrace her as a
memberoftheirfamily.Thebrideandthegroomareusuallybroughttoatempleintheirnativevillage
beforebeinginvitedtothegroomsresidence.
The couple would be asked to put their hands into three thavalais (ever silver pots) and take out the
contentsinside.Asmallgametoseewhowouldtakeoverdifferentroleswhentheyrunthefamily.
Nathanarsadangu:
Donebythebridessisterinlaw(s)whichisthesameasmamiyarsadanguwouldbedoneatthe
timeofpenazhaippu