Pallikai Thellichal is another beautiful pre wedding custom of the Tamil Iyengar Brahmin wedding. The ritual symbolises the auspicious beginning of a new family. Earthen pots are prepared the day before the ceremony. A sand bed is formed on top of which mango leaves are spread. The earthen pots are now placed on the mango leaves. Some people may wish to decorate these pots with sandalwood powder and vermillion(kumkum).
How to conduct Pallikai Thellichal Ceremony?
Five or seven earthen pots are decorated and kept aside for this ritual as odd number is considered auspicious. Each earthen pot is filled with curd and navadhanyas (Navadhanyas are nine different types of grains which are linked to the nine cosmic influences- Barley for the Sun, Little Millets for the Moon, Pigeon Pea for Mars, Moong Dhal for Mercury, Chickpea for Jupiter, Rice for Venus, Sesame for Saturn, Black Gram for Rahu and Horse Gram for Ketu). The grains are left in the pots to sprout.
After the grains sprout, unmarried Hindu Brahmin Iyengar girls are invited to drop these pots into the nearby water body. They wish for the fish in the water to feed on these grains.
The significance of this ritual is that the bride and groom are compared with the sprouted grains in the pots. It is believed that when fish consume these grains, the ancestors of the family bless the couple for a long, healthy and happy life together. The sound of ladies singing traditional songs along with the music of nadhaswaram(traditional wind instrument) fill the air.