India is a land of vast cultural diversity, with a horde of various traditions and rituals that are specific to each state of the country. A wedding itself is enough to spell the variation in the beliefs of every social group. A customary south Indian wedding is complete with many rituals and customs that are performed during the length of pre-wedding period as well as post-wedding period. Each ritual has a beautiful and symbolic relevance in the Indian culture and is performed with purity for the benefit of the couple.
CONVENTIONAL SOUTH INDIAN WEDDING RITUALS
Festooned with mango leaves and pine petals, the musical notes emanating from shehnai’s drift throughout the wedding venue. Colourful kolam and rangoli’s adorn the floors while the wedding ceremonies proceed. The pre-wedding rituals consist of Ganpati puja and Vratham. These rituals symbolise the beginning of a new chapter in the couple’s life. The marriage proceedings begin with a formal procedure of customs between the groom and the bride’s father. The exchange of garlands between the bride and bridegroom marks the completion of marriage between them. A number of traditions are followed post this ceremony to ask for the blessings of the lord for the married couple. A procession of light songs and bonding follows in the evening which marks the bonding between the families. South Indians place a firm belief in warding off any evil, which is why they also follow a rigorous ritual of circling lime and turmeric on a plate.
CHANGING TRENDS IN SOUTH INDIAN WEDDINGS
South Indian form of weddings is a stark contrast to Hindu weddings. The highlight of a south Indian wedding is kanjeevaram saree and dhoti. The changing times have brought people belonging to different communities together which have resulted in an integration and association of different people of the communities. The effect of this integration is also visible in weddings, where mehendi functions, sangeet ceremony, juta churai and cocktail parties have been inculcated as a part of south Indian wedding proceedings. The young generation has more exposure to people belonging to different cultures through the medium of work places and education. This is perhaps the top reason for the mix in ethnic norms these days in south Indian weddings. While progressive south Indians keep their traditional rituals intact, they are more open to allowing the inclusion of several other ceremonies such that they celebrate the sharing of culture among different people.