Generally, Tamil weddings are held in huge ‘kalyana mandapam’ marriage halls, which are decorated with flowers and lights, since they have a complete attendance of close as well as distant relatives and friends. Although there are variations in the Tamil wedding rituals among the various communities, the basic procedures remain the same. The Tamil Weddings are elaborate and incorporate typical wedding rituals. The rituals give guarantee to the prospective bride and groom to begin their new phase of life in the most graceful manner. During the wedding ceremony, each stage of the rituals is performed with religious observance and the ambience is full of festivities and enthusiasm.
According to customs, the Pradakshina is the mangal pheras that legalize the Tamil wedding. It is the performance of the circumambulations around the Agni to declare the groom and the bride as husband and wife.
In the ritual of asmorahana, the bride steps on the north stone that signifies the strength of the couple against their enemies. During the asmorahana, the bride throws three oblations of rice into the sacred fire. The saptapadi is considered the final ritual of the wedding ceremony that seals the couple’s union. For the Saptapadi, the marriage knot is tied between the ends of the groom’s scarf and the bride’s sari. Thereafter, the couple takes seven steps together that represent nourishment, strength, prosperity, happiness, progeny, long life and harmony and understanding, respectively. Each time they begin a circle, the bride touches a grinding stone with her feet, in the hope of their union being firm forever.
There is also a ritual of looking at the Polestar. It is a post wedding ritual and is known as Dhruva darshan. After the sun sets, the groom shows the bride the polar star and requests her to live with him for as long as can be, bearing his children as God has given her to him to be his wife.
- Pradakshina or mangal pheras are the seven circles around the sacred fire taken by the bridal couple during the marriage ceremony.
- Agni is the sacred fire.
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