Wedding are predominantly fixed by parents after taking a look at number of details. Parents decide whether their son or daughter is ready for marriage. Even though things are changing in the new world. The youngsters are also given a chance to express their desires to their parentss. Parents ask their friends and relatives to inform them of any suitable bride or groom. Now a days the online matrimony sites play a key role in helping the parents to have access to large list of available brides and grooms from across the world.
Parents decide on the bride or groom based on many factors like horoscope match, family status (economic & societal), earning capabilities, education level etc. There are still number of alliances rejected on the grounds of horoscope matching, even though every thing else looks pretty close. Now a days there is an additional criteria of whether the girl can work after marriage, is also considered as there is so much of pressure to earn more to keep the societal expectations.
Marriage broker (Tharagar), plays a important role in convincing both sides to agree on the expectations. Matrimony websites lacks hugely on this aspect as they donot engage with the families personally.
Once the parents decide that the alliance can be progressed then the marriage broker confirms with both family to go and visit the bride family. This is more of to get to know each other rather than commiting for the marriage. There may be circumstances where the families may not be satisfied after this visit itself. If the groom family is happy then the next stage is for bride family to visit grooms house.
If everybody is happy then the tharagar will intermediate to have a betrothal (Nichayathartham). This is considered a commitment to go for wedding. Grooms family will bring new saree and Thaalee along with flower,fruits and coconuts. This will be exchanged between the parents as an agreement for marriage. The bride will wear the new saree and that will be taken as an agreement from the bride for marriage. After everyone settles down, an auspicious date for wedding day will be agreed by both families after consulting with the Josier(Horoscope Reader). Josier is one of the key person who can make or break a marriage in this community. As their word is taken almost the final to decide whether they pair match for each other.
Once the betrothal is over, the bride and groom will be allowed to speak to each other bit more freely. In the cell phone era, there are schemes aiming specifically for these couple. It is not uncommon to see the excited couple to speak to death to enjoy their freedom and commitment.
Invitation for marriages is one of the key and time consuming activity as far as kongu vellala gounder community is concerned. They go extra mile to give the invitations to thousands of people personally. Navithan(barber), used to help deliver the invitation for those to whom it cant be delivered personally.
The marriage ceremonies started becoming more crisp and simpler nowadays. In the simpler version, the close circle of family and friends go along with groom and bride to a temple and marry each other with much smaller crowd. A reception will be held on the same day to receive the wishes from all other relatives and friends. There are people do consider the 3 day marriage function as it used to happen historically. But the longer version started becoming countable in the fast paced world. The wealthier people do consider having the longer version predominantly. The wedding events will come to close with the serving of grand feast to all relatives, friends and neighbors. Mui (gifts) vanguthal is a ceremony used to happen in the previous days which will give an opportunity for the wishers to offer gifts that will help the new couple to start their new life. Even though now a days many people declare that they dont want to receive the Mui, as it is increasingly challenging to gift the Mui in return during the gifted persons functions.
After the wedding ceremony, the bride is taken to the groom house and the groom will again be taken to the brides house which are called Maapillai & Ponnu Alaithal. When the bride visits the grooms house first time, she will be asked to lit up a ‘Kuthu vilaku’ which is considered a symbolic representation that the bride will bring the cheer and light to the family. There after the new couple takes charge in to their new life.
It does not all end there. The celebrations continue even after the marriage in the form of the first Pongal, first Aadi and first Deepavali which are celebrated with cheer in the brides house. There will be gifts from the brides parents to show their love and support to the young couple.