Weddings offer the occasion for the convergence of the best rituals and value associated with these. Together, in countries like India, where the modern cultural elements are getting assimilated fast, there are wholesome fervors developing and evident in the wedding celebrations. We find the intermingling of the traditional with the modern; yet the core principles are never let down in any manner. Kerala is the southernmost state of India and here too the weddings are performed with full passion, religious value and cultural ethos. The culture savvy and deeply religious community here has offered all dedications to keep the value high every time and therefore the weddings in Kerala are true occasions to live! Let’s get informed about the core customs and genre elements of Kerala wedding.
Kerala traditions are value icons
Kerala marriage starts with the formal consent received through the engagement ceremony itself. The groom’s family comes to the bride’s house and does the rituals that are considered auspicious. The jathakam vangal or the engagement in Kerala is more focussed at obtaining the girl’s horoscope while the other ceremonies like the ring exchange may or may not be agreed for that occasion. Some families practice the ring ceremony at the time of the marriage itself and this marks the deviation from the rest of India where this is symbolic of the engagement. The horoscope is handed over to the groom side guests in a specific manner and this is again very much intrinsic to the Kerala customs and rituals. The person handing over the girl’s horoscope stands facing the west while the receiver stands facing east. Moreover, the horoscope has to be handed over while standing before the traditional Kerala lamp called as nilavilakku and the paddy bunch or the nirapara.
A pious and solemn occasion builds up
With such cultural religious sophistication associated with the wedding customs in Kerala, one can imagine the wedding day to be a deeply religious one! The muhurat (the auspicious time) is intricately determined through the escort of the priest. The groom along with the family members and guests has to reach the bride’s place before muhurat. The elder brother stands ready to welcome the groom who is also escorted by him by holding the right hand. Raw rice and tulasi is showered upon the groom by the ‘to be mother in law’ while the wife of the elder brother of father of the bride carries the iconic nilavilakku! The groom finally reaches to the mandap place where the sacred religious mantras would be spelled till the marriage is completed.
Rich cuisines and customs
The marriage ceremony is completed with all the care and devotions and the Kerala people have been really passionate about the wedding rituals. A sense of solemn appeal continues throughout. However, it is also significant to note that the modern attributes like the buffet cuisine system has also been accepted now; while the customary catering on the banana leaf is also present largely. The costumes like bridal kalyan saree and other attires add to the finer details to make the Kerala weddings wholesome.