The Tamilian community is fairly large and Tamilian weddings are
usually well attended by close as well as distant relatives. The
Tamilians believe in simple living, hence their weddings are not
necessarily extravagant affairs. A large wedding hall is booked
for the occasion and decorated with flowers and lights. The date
for the wedding is fixed after consulting the Hindu calendar. As
per the Tamil calender the months of Aashad (July 15th to August
15th), Bhadrapad (September 15th to October 15th) and Shunya
(December 15th to January 15th) are considered inauspicious for
weddings and hence, Tamilian weddings are not held in these
Some common surnames:
Sandhu, Gill, Bedi, Siddhu, Sodhi, Ahluwalia, Garewal, Kairon,
Rarewala, Chimni, Sukhurchakia
Panda Kaal Muhurtham
It is customary to invoke the blessings of the family
deity to ensure that the wedding preparations proceed
smoothly. Usually, this small ritual is performed one
day before the wedding. The family of the bride and the
groom pray to the deity who is symbolically represented
by a bamboo pole.
When the groom and his family arrive at the wedding hall
on the morning one day before the wedding, they are
welcomed with a tray containing offerings of flowers,
paan supari, fruits and mishri. Rose water is sprinkled
on the groom. The bride's brother applies a tilak (dot
or line) of sandalwood paste and kumkum on his forehead
and garlands him. The bride's mother offers the groom's
parents offer a sweet dish prepared from condensed milk.
A senior female member of the bride's family performs
aarti (a small ritual conducted as a mark of reverence)
and welcomes them. It is also customary to break a
coconut to the ground as this is believed to help ward
off evil spirits.
This ritual is somewhat similar to the Panda Kaal
Muhurtham. It is usually performed a day before the
wedding by the family of the bride as well as that of
the groom. They recite Vedic hymns in the presence of a
priest (Vaadyar) and seek the blessings of a family
deity. Next, they invoke the blessings of all their
ancestors and pray for their intervention in removing
those obstacles that threaten to disrupt the wedding
proceedings. Following these ceremonies, all married
women from the groom's family participate in a ceremony
called Palikai thellichal.
The family of the bride begins this ceremony a day
before the wedding. Clay pots are filled with grains.
Married women from both the sides sprinkle water on the
pots filled with nine varieties of grain. During this
ceremony, the others present sing traditional songs to
the accompaniment of music. The next day (the day after
the wedding) when the grains sprout, these pots are
immersed in a pond so that the fish in the pond may feed
on the grains and bless the newly-weds abundantly.
This ceremony involves honouring a few Brahmins with
gifts and sweets. The Brahmins are invited to represent
the souls of the ancestors of the bride and the groom.
The families seek their blessings before beginning the
A tradition which is rarely practised these days. The
groom gets into a decorated car and is escorted to the
wedding venue by a large and joyous procession of family
and friends. Professional musicians accompany the
procession and play traditional wedding music. Sometimes
there are also fireworks to celebrate the occasion. The
girl's brother garlands the groom and receives him at
the Wedding hall to the accompaniment of traditional
The bride's parents perform Ganesh Pooja in the presence
of the officiating priest. The bride is also present
during the ceremony. Tamilians have great faith in the
Elephant God, Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles. The
groom's side gives the bride a new sari. She wears it
with the assistance of her sister-in-law. A tilak of
chandan and kumkum is applied on her forehead, while the
pallav (part of the sari near the border) of her sari is
filled with fruits, paan-supari, turmeric, kumkum and
coconut. A garland of flowers is tied around her waist.
Aarati is also performed for her.
Reading of Lagna Pathirigai
The priest formally reads out the wedding invitation.
Details on 3 generations of the lineage of the boy and
the girl and other information on the muhurtam and venue
is announced. This is followed by an elaborate dinner.
The mangala snaanam is the auspicious and
purifying bath that the bride and groom must
have in their respective homes on the dawn of
their wedding day. Before the bath they are
anointed with oil and a tilak of haldi-kumkum.
This is an interesting ritual and adds an
element of colour and drama to the occasion.
After the mangala snaanam, the groom pretends to
leave for Kashi, a pilgrimage center to devote
himself to God and a life of prayer. He carries
a walking stick and other meagre essentials with
him to imply that he is not interested in
becoming a householder. The girl's father
intervenes and requests him to accept his
daughter as his life partner. He exhorts him to
fulfill his responsibilities as a householder
and thus follow what is written in the
scriptures. The groom relents and returns to the
pandal where he is received by the bride.
This ceremony is full of fun and gaiety. The
bride and the groom exchange garlands thrice.
They are teased by their relatives. For
instance, they pull the girl away when the boy
reaches forward to be garlanded by her, and vice
versa. The bride and the groom's uncles
(mother's brother) have to hoist them.
When the couple finally succeed in garlanding
each other thrice, they are made to sit together
on a swing. Married women from the families give
spoonful of milk and banana pieces. They circle
rice balls around the couple in circular
motions, in clockwise and anti-clockwise
directions and fling them away. This rite is
believed to prevent evil forces from disrupting
the wedding ceremony. Another rite to achieve a
similar end, involves the womenfolk going around
the couple four times, holding in their hands a
lamp or alternately, a container of water. Songs
called Oonjal Paattu must be sung during these
The bride's father welcomes the groom when he
comes to the mandapam (place where the wedding
rituals are carried out).. The mandapam houses
the sacred fire around which the wedding
ceremonies will be conducted. The bride's mother
applies kajal in the groom's eyes. The bride's
father washes his son-in-law's feet. Through
this gesture the father conveys that that the
boy is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and
believes that he will support and take good care
of his daughter. The bride sits on her father's
lap with a coconut in her hands. The father and
bride offer the coconut to the groom while the
bride's mother pours water over the coconut thus
symbolising the 'giving away of their daughter.'
The groom's parents gift the bride a nine-yard
sari and a blouse to be worn for next moment,
the auspicious occasion of tying the mangasultra
With the help of her sister-in-law and other
aunts the bride changes into a nine-yard sari
and again enters the mandapam. A sack of paddy
is placed on the floor. The bride's father is
seated on this and the bride sits on her
father's lap. The sack of paddy symbolises good
fortune and abundance in terms of material and
spiritual wealth. The yoke of a farmer's plough
is touched to the bride's forehead. This gesture
carries the hope that the couple will always
walk together, by each other's side to pull the
plough of life. The priest and relatives bless
the mangalsutra or sacred thread and hand it to
the groom who ties it around the neck of his
bride with two knots. His groom's sister ties
the third knot much to the rejoicing of everyone
accompanied by the drums of the melam. The three
knots symbolise the marriage of the mind, spirit
The groom takes the bride's right hand in his
left hand and leads her around the sacred fire
seven times. The bride begins each round by
touching her feet to a grinding stone. This
signifies her hope that their union may be as
firm and steadfast as the grinding stone.
The families of the newly-weds exchange clothes
and other gifts befitting their status during
The groom accepts popped rice from the bride's
brother and offers it to the sacred fire or Agni.
The blessings of Agni are sought as fire stands
for the divine power and light of God.
The bride and groom seek the blessings of the
senior members of the family by prostrating in
front of them. They also offer them a gift of
fruits and a token rupee.
The wedding rituals over, the bride is escorted
to the groom's house. If he lives far from the
venue, she is taken to the home of his nearest
relative. She is welcomed into her new home with
an aarati. Lunch is served at the venue after
the newly-weds return.
After the series of religious ceremonies, the
evening reception marks a tone of informality
with the guests meeting the couple and conveying
their best wishes to their families.
The next day after the 2 day affair, the boy's
side leave the marriage hall and proceed to
their respective homes. The bride's side bid
adieu and provide them with all the condiments
like rice, dal, tamarind, coffee powder, appalam,
pickles etc. They also give packed cooked food
which include coconut rice, lemon rice, tamarind
rice and curd rice.