DRAVIDIAN MARRIAGE CUSTOMS (Post No.3297)

kudalur-adivadi-women

Adivasi women from Dinamalar newspaper

Compiled  by London Swaminathan

 

Date: 28 October 2016

 

Time uploaded in London: 12-56

 

Post No.3297

 

Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks

 

According to foreign “scholars”, all dark-skinned people, particularly tribal people, are Dravidians. But I have been saying that they are neither Dravidians nor Aryans, because no such thing is found in Sangam Tamil literature and Vedic literature. According to foreign writers these were the people once occupied Indus valley cities; but I have been arguing these people have nothing to do with Indus valley Civilization. These were the people who have been living in tis country from Bhimbetka Cave (Madhya Pradesh) days along with the Vedic culture. There are hundreds of tribes in India with different customs. There is no uniform culture. The surprising thing about the tribes is that they tie MANGALA SUTRAM (Thaali in Tamil) around bride’s neck. So, following piece gives a severe blow to Aryan-Dravidian theories—swami

 

Following is an excerpt from ‘The Hindu at Home’ written by Rev J E Padfield written in 1908.

 

Hitherto I have been speaking of things as they are in the Telugu country. Farther south, in the Tamil speaking parts, there many varieties the marriage rites amongst the various aboriginal tribes.

 

Vellalar and Milk Bowl

The Karakat Vellalans, for instance, who live on and near the Palani Mountains in South India, have very peculiar marriage customs. The ceremony is performed in a booth (Pandal), erected for the purpose before the house door of the bride. The bride and bridegroom are seated on the floor with their faces towards the east. A lamp kept burning on a stool near where they sit, whilst a measure of grain and a rude image of Ganésha made of cow dung, is placed near them. After both have prostrated themselves before the symbol, the bride- groom receives the mangalasutram from some of the relatives present, which he proceeds to tie around the bride’s neck. At the same time a bowl of milk is brought, in which a few leaves of the peepul tree have been steeped. The relatives on both sides then sprinkle some of this milk upon the heads of the pair.

 

The newly-married couple then prostrate themselves before their several relatives, and the day’s ceremony is concluded with a feast and a formal distribution of betel. This concludes the marriage ceremony. On the following day the bridegroom gives a grand feast, when various marriage presents are distributed to the bride and her relatives.

 

Maravans and Conch Shells

Amongst the Maravans, a people dwelling mostly in the extreme south-east of the peninsula, the marriage ceremonies are very strange and unusual. After a marriage has been agreed upon by the principal members of two families, a few of the relatives of the intended bridegroom go to the house of the bride, and then, with or without her consent and, even perhaps without having sought the consent of the bridegroom they tie upon her neck the mangalasutram whilst conch shells are blown loudly outside They then escort the bride to the house of her husband. A feast is given which lasts for several days.

 

Processions are formed through the streets and a cocoanut broken before an image of Ganésha. These and a few other one ceremonies conclude the marriage rites. There is one curious custom which must be noted when these people have not the means to pay for the feast and other expenses. They simply tie on the mangalasutram, upon which the parties live together as man and wife. The other ceremonies, however, must be gone through at some time or other, when means admit of it. Should the husband happen to die before the defect has been supplied, the friends and relatives at once borrow money, if they have none by them, and proceed to complete the marriage ceremonies in the presence and on behalf of the corpse. The dead body supposed to be the bridegroom is placed on a seat with the woman by it. After this gruesome ceremony, the mangala- sutram is taken off the woman and she is free, as a widow, to remarry.

 

Kallans and Boomerangs

Amongst the Kallans, an important caste in the south, a marriage alliance depends upon consanguinity, and it is entirely irrespective of the wishes of either parties to the contract, or even of their parents. When a wedding has been fixed upon, the sister of the bridegroom, with a present in her hand, goes to the house of the parents of the bride and ties some horse-hair around the bride’s neck. She then takes her, accompanied by some of her relatives, to the house of the bridegroom where a feast is prepared. After the feast the pair are conducted to the house of the bridegroom where a solemn exchange is made of vallari thadis or boomerangs. Another feast is then given in the bride’s house, and the bride is presented by her parents with some rice and a hen. The bride and bridegroom, now husband and wife, then repair to his home and the marriage ceremony is complete.

 

Tottiyans and Bullock-sadle

 

There is a caste of cultivators in the south called Tottians, who perform their weddings as follows. Two booths are erected, outside the limits of the village, and in each of them is placed a bullock-saddle, and upon these are seated the bride and bridegroom, whilst the relatives and friends congregate around. The attendant priest addresses the assembly, after which the price of the bride, usually so much grain, is carried under a canopy of white cloth to the house of the bride’s father. This procession, which is heralded by music and dancing, is met by the friends of the bride who receive the grain, and they all go together into the house. Here betel is distributed and mutual congratulations exchanged, after which the whole party is led to the bride’s booth by the priest.

 

Arrived there, the priest receives at the hand of the bridegroom a small chain of black beads and a tiny circlet of gold. The priest then proceeds to tie the chain round the bride’s neck and attaches the circlet of gold to her forehead, with which ceremony the marriage is complete. This is succeeded by the usual feasting, without which it does not seem possible for a marriage to take place anywhere.

 

Poleiyans

 

There are people of a very low status like the Poleiyans, for instance, whose marriage ceremony merely consists of a declaration of consent made by both parties at a feast to which all the relatives are invited. I now proceed to describe the nuptial rites of the hill tribes of Southern India which are of the most simple and primitive character.

 

Todas: Foot on Bride’s Head!

 

Amongst the Todas early betrothals are common, and the agreement is ratified by an interchange of buffaloes. When the time comes for the marriage to be consummated there is another exchange of buffaloes.

The only ceremony is that the woman bows down before the man and he places his foot upon her head. This humiliating acknowledgment of submission on the part of woman is not what one would have expected in a tribe where polyandry is practised. The wife is installed in her position by proceeding to perform some household duties, such as cooking and drawing water.

Kotas

The Kotas, a tribe dwelling on the slopes of the Nilgiri Hills, perform their marriages in the following manner. It is usual for the couple to be betrothed when they are quite young and, when the girl becomes of a marriageable age, she is sent for to the house of her future father-in-law. The usual marriage feast is given, followed by music and dancing, and the ceremony is concluded by the bridegroom’s mother tying the mangalasutram round the bride’s neck.

 

Kurumbas: No Marriage rites!!

Amongst the Kurambas, who are also dwellers on the Nilgiri slopes, there seem to be no marriage rites whatever. When a couple decide to come together, or even after they may have been living together for some time, a feast is given to their friends and the marriage is complete.

Irulas

With the Irulas, another Nilgiri tribe, there is no marriage ceremony, neither is there any previous betrothal. When a youth comes of age to choose a wife, he finds one for himself and the matter is ended.

 

Badagas

The Badagas, who are dwellers on the Nilgiri plateau are said to be the descendants of Canarese colonists. Amongst this people marriages are contracted without any special rites and the marriage tie is held by them very loosely. After a couple have agreed to come together, a time of probation is allowed during which either of the parties may draw back and decline to go further with the connection. A man may make several of these temporary alliances before definitely decides upon a partner for life. There is some feasting when a definite alliance has been agreed to, and that is all there is by way of rites and ceremonies.

 

–Subham–

 

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