Marriages in Tamil Culture

The Sacred Ceremonies 

A wedding is a joyous celebration of commitment and the coming together of two families. The Tamil culture is known for its simplicity and the rituals performed as part of the wedding ceremony. The Tamil marriage ceremonies celebrate the bride and groom’s entry into adulthood. And they have their own pre-wedding, wedding and post-wedding ceremonies.

Pre Wedding Rituals

The pre-wedding rituals are a celebration of the love and harmony between the two families. The Tamil marriage ceremonies begin much ahead of the day of the actual wedding. These pre-wedding festivities and rituals commence when the two families fix the date for the wedding.

Once the marriage is mutually agreed upon by both families, they decide on an auspicious day for the Nichayathartham.  On this special occasion, a pooja is held, which is followed by a reading of the Invitation that provides details on the day, date and time of the Muhurtham. This invitation is signed by both families.
Once the wedding date is finalised by both families. The extended relatives arrive 4-5 days before the Tamil marriageA bamboo stick with mango leaves is set up and pooja is performed by the Iyer along with the relatives of the bride and groom. The members of the family place Mangal and Kumkum in five areas of the cane.
The groom’s family arrives at the bride’s house a day before the actual muhurtham. However, they do not enter the bride’s house but is welcomed by the bride’s family members at the community hall or the temple where they stay the night.


The bride and groom are made to seat on a wooden plank and five chosen women apply oil by using grass stems and apply a green gram paste. They will then do an aarti made of lime water mixed with turmeric to ward off the evils. Then they are both taken for a ceremonial bath.
The marriage is marked complete when the groom ties the Thali around the bride’s neck. Before tying the Thali it is kept on a plate along with coconut, betel leaves and nuts. It makes a round of the venue where all the elders present bless the Thali and on a chosen muhurtham the groom ties it while the mantras are chanted, conch shells are blown and flutes are played. A Kamakshi Vilakku representing the goddess Kamatchi of Kanchipuram will be held by the sister of the groom to invoke the blessings of the goddess who is known as the bride of Lord Shiva. The elders present at the hall will bless the couple showering Atchathai. The first two knots of the Thali is put in by the groom while the third and the final one is put in by the groom’s sister.
The bride and the groom holds each other’s hands and go around the sacred fire seven times. Mantras are chanted which outlines the seven sacred vows of a marriage. This ritual marks the symbolic beginning of the couple’s journey as husband and wife.
The groom holds the bride’s left toe as she steps over a grindstone and he puts a metti over his toe. This symbolically represents the solidity of their union.

Post Wedding

The wedding is followed by a formal reception in the evening where the guests are treated with a full vegetarian meal. The newly weds are seated on thronelike chairs on top of a stage where they can meet and greet all the guests. The two families then exchange gifts and the bride prepares to leave her paternal home. She is bid an emotional goodbye by her parents and relatives after they have prayed to the family deity.
When the bride reaches the groom’s home, she is given a warm welcome. The mother-in-law performs a small arti and welcomes her inside the house where she has to seek the blessings of the family deity first. Several of the post-wedding games are played between the bride and the groom as a part of wedding ritual.

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