Compiled  by London Swaminathan


Date: 8 November 2016


Time uploaded in London: 21-12


Post No.3334


Pictures are taken from various sources; they are only representational; thanks.







Please read the first part posted yesterday and then continue here:-


Bride behind a curtain!

The bride’s parents now come forward and with necessary ceremonies, invest the bridegroom with the two skeins to form necessary full sacred thread up of a married man. A curtain is then fixed across the platform, and the bride is brought out seated in a kind of wicker-basket, and is then placed behind the curtain which separates the young couple so that they cannot actually see each other until later on in the affair.

Honey, Milk and Golden Sacred Thread

The bride’s father or mother then proceeds to give to the bridegroom a mixture of curds, milk ghee, sugar cummin, honey and other ingredients. This mixture is known as “mathuparkam”. A portion of it is placed in his hand and he proceeds to eat it. This is repeated three times. It is supposed to refresh him after the fatigue he has already gone through and also to prepare him for the further ceremonies. The bride’s parents then present the bridegroom with a beautiful cloth and other like things, including a kind of yagnopavitam (sacred thread), made of one golden and two silver threads. The youth then proceeds to array himself in the gorgeous presents.


Giving of the Damsel

The important ceremony called “Kanyaadaanam” (giving of the damsel) now takes place. This is done as follows:The bridegroom first makes the following declaration


“I of such and such a name, family and tribe, perform this taking of hands for the remission of my sins and for the satisfaction of the supreme God.”


The bride’s family priest then asks the bridegroom if he is willing to take so and so to wife. On his answering in the affirmative, the ends of the upper garments of the pair are tied together in what is called the “Brahma knot”. The priest in tying this knot says vishvéth tratét,” that is “You both must trust and be a prop to each other”. They sit thus tied together until it may be necessary for them to move away from the place where they are sitting, when the knot is loosed.


This tying of the cloths, is an important part of the marriage ceremony and is repeated at various stages of the proceedings. Certain presents of jewels and cloths one of which should be silk are now given to the bride by bridegroom’s father. The bridegroom then again makes a declaration of his willingness to accept the bride, and her father makes a declaration of his willingness to give her.


The bride’s mother then brings in a vessel of water with which her father proceeds to wash the bridegroom’s feet, sprinkling some of the water on his own head. He then takes the right hand of the bride which is underneath the curtain, and placing it in hand of the bridegroom, pours over the clasped hands some water from the vessel.

Whilst this is being done, the father with the help of his priest/purohita, repeats certain mantrams of which the following is a specimen


“This damsel laden with gold,

And adorned with jewels of gold,

I give to thee who art like unto Vishnu,

In the hope that I may attain the heaven of Brahma”

Kanyaam kanaka sampannaam kanakaabaranairyuthaam

Daasyaami vishnavebhyam brahmalokajigiishayaa


The pouring of water over the clasped hands is one of the most important ceremonies of the whole proceedings. After this is done, curtain which has hitherto separated the bride and bridegroom is re- moved, and they see each other, possibly for the first time in their lives.


An ox yoke

The parties may be very young. A very curious ceremony is gone through at this stage of the proceedings. An ox yoke is brought in and a cord made of darbha grass is tied round the waist of the bride by the bridegroom. This cord is supposed to represent one of those used to place round the neck of the ox when it is yoked. It is easy to see the origin and significance of the act. The yoke is now held over the bride in such a manner that one of the holes in it shall come right over her head The mangalasutram, to be presently described, i now taken and held under the hole through which water is poured by the bridegroom. The water trickles down the mangalasutram on to the bride’s head. During this the young couple are made to say to each other nati charaimani,” or “I will never leave thee.


Tying of Mangalasutram


The next ceremony is the important one of tying on the mangalasutram. This is a saffron coloured on the man thread or cord to which a small gold ornament is attached. It is fastened round the neck and hangs down in front like a locket. This is always worn by married women, like the wedding ring among Europeans, and it is never parted with, for any consideration whatever, until the death of either party. Thus, if a woman has not on the mangalasutram, is a sign of widowhood.


A beautiful cloth is now given to the bride by her father and she departs for a little in order to array herself in it; on her return she is accompanied by her female relatives. The bridegroom now takes the ‘mangalasutram’ and, with an appropriate declaration, ties it round the neck of the bride. Whilst this is being done, the musicians make loud noise with the instruments. Others who are present clap their hands. This is to prevent any sneezing from being heard. Sneezing is considered a very bad omen; and for fear any one might be seized with an attack during this important part of the marriage ceremony, the loud noise is made to drown so unlucky a sound.


The declaration which the bridegroom, prompted the by priest gives utterance to on tying the cord is as follows:


“This mangalasutram

For the lengthening of my life

Oh damsel I  tie to thy neck,

Do thou live for a hundred years.”

Maangalyam tantunaanena mama jiivana hetunaa

Kante badnaami subhage tvam jiivasaradaam satam


Whilst the ‘mangalasutram’ is being tied on,” the prohitas and those present chant the mangalashtakam, or eight marriage blessings. When the chanting is concluded some of those present throw coloured rice upon the couple, by way of blessing them.

(My comments: Very often it is discussed by the Tamils whenther tying the Thali/Mangla sutram/yellow thread around the neck is a native custom or borrowed one. To my surprise all the Tamil hill tribes use this Mangalasutram. They are all described as Dravidians)


One of the eight marriage blessings is as follows:

“The pearls in the lotus-like hands of Sita which shone like rubies

When poured on the head of Rama appeared white like jasmine flowers,

And falling over his dark blue body shone like sapphires

May those pearls thus used at the marriage of Rama give happiness unto you.”



An ornament called ‘bhashikam’ is also worn by the bride and bridegroom, when they are seated together at any time during the five days for which the ceremony lasts. This ornament is usually made of twigs and coloured thread and is worn tied on to the forehead by a string passing round the head. After the tying of the mangalasutram, the priest places a few grains of coloured rice into the hands of those present who in company chant as a blessing some verses from the Védas. After this, all present throw the rice on to the heads of the married pair. It may be that the modern English custom of throwing rice after a newly married couple arose from this Indian rite.


At this stage of the proceedings the bridegroom duly prompted by the family priest, proceeds to per form a homam or sacrifice of fire. This is done in the sacred fire which is made and kept up in the centre of a prepared place, during the whole of the marriage festival days. The homam is performed by dropping into the fire certain kinds of twigs and rice and ghee. Mantrams are also repeated at the same time.



The next ceremony is called saptapadi or seven steps. This is the most important ceremony in the whole marriage rite, and in a court of justice this is the test ceremony by which it is decided whether a disputed marriage was completely performed or not. Manu also makes this the irrevocable act, upon which the rite is complete:–


“The nuptial texts are a certain rule in regard to wedlock, and bridal contract is known by the learned to be complete and irrevocable on the seventh step of the married pair, hand in hand. after those texts have been pronounced.” (viii. 227.)


The ceremony is performed as follows. The couple, holding each other by the hand, walk three times round the sacred fire, each circle being supposed to be done in seven steps. Whilst they are thus marching, the priest repeats a mantra, the bridegroom joining in with him if he is able to do so. The mantra is supposed to be said by the bridegroom to the bride and is as follows

Sakhaayo saptapadaa sakhaayo saptapadaa baboons

Sakhaayo te game yam sakhyaate mama gosh am

Sakhyaate ma yoshtaah

Samsayah a sankalpaavahai


By taking seven steps with me do thou become my friend

By taking seven steps together we become friends

I shall become thy friend

I shall never give up thy friendship

Do thou never give up my friendship

Let us live together and take counsel one of another


With this rite the marriage may be said to be indissolubly completed and, upon this, betel and fruits are distributed to those present, after which those who, through religious differences, cannot eat together with the household take their leave.


The women present then sing marriage songs, which are taken from the marriage songs of Rama and Sita. Whilst singing they hold small lamps in their hands and the lamps are fed with ghee.


(My comments: I have already written about the famous Tamil King Karikal Choza walked seven steps to say good bye too his guests. It is in Sangam Tamil literature. I have also written about the significance of Number Seven in the Indus valley seals. I have also referred to seven steps in the Vedas in my research articles)




Sometime after darkness has set in, the ceremony called Sthaalipaakam is performed. This is done as follows.

The company being assembled, a little rice is cooked in a small vessel on the sacred fire when, after several suppressions of the breath and repeating Om bhuh, Om bhuvaha, Om suvaha, the name of the three worlds of the Hindus, the bridegroom mention s the exact time that then is , naming the age, year, day and hour, and also the place where they are at the time. He then makes this declaration

I make this Sthaalipaakam, on behalf of this damsel, to please the supreme God.

After this is done, he sprinkles ghee over some of the cooked rice and, taking pinches of it up in his two fingers and thumb, performs a homam by casting it upon the fire. He does this several times, repeating the following mantra :-


Idam Na Mama= It is not Mine

Agnaye swaaha agnaya idam na mama

Agnaye svistakrte svaahaa agnaye svistakrta idam na mama


May this become a sacrifice to Agni, the God of fire.

To him this is given, it is not mine

May this become a sacrifice to him who fulfils our desires

This belongs to him, it is not mine

(Please see my article Idam Na Mama posted earlier)


Seeing Arundhati Star in the North


Before the bridegroom and the bride can take any food, the last ceremony of this first day’s proceedings must be done. The priest take s them outside the house and pointing out a very small star, bids them pay homage to it.  The star is near the middle one in the tail of Ursa Major constellation called Arundhati,


And the star is named after Arundhari, the wife of Vasishta, one of the seven rishis. The Arundhati is said to have been a pattern wife, and probably the ceremony is meant to draw the attention of the bride to that fact and to bid her follow so good an example.


(Arundhati is referred to in many places in Sangam and Post Sangam Tamil literature; Please see my earlier article on this subject)

After this the bride and bridegroom take food together from the same leaf. This is a rather noteworthy act, as it is the only time during their life when the husband and wife eat together. Ever after they will eat apart. The duty of the wife is to serve her husband whilst he eats, and when he has done, to partake what is left of the food, using as a plate the leaf from which her husband has just breakfasted or dined .


At the time when the bride and bridegroom are partaking their love feast, the family and guests sit down and partake of the marriage feast. Generally, a very large number come together for this.

First Day Ceremonies over.

To be continued……………….