Mappillai (Groom) Azhaippu (to invite) means inviting the groom to the bride’s house or the Kalyana mandapam (wedding hall). This event is a traditional welcome to the Chettiar groom and family prior to the wedding. On the day of the marriage, the family of the groom arrives at the bride's town or village. But they do not stay or visit the bride's house as traditionally the bride and groom are not supposed to see each other before the wedding. Usually, they wait at a community hall or a temple and wait to be invited by the bride's family. Let’s check out why the Mappillai azhaippu is an important ritual in the Chettiar weddings:
Importance of Mappillai Azhaippu in Tamil Chettiar Weddings
The family members of the groom are called Mappillai Veetar meaning the Groom's family. The father of the bride visits the groom and his family to invite them. The bride's family are called Pen Veetar meaning the Bride's side. The bride's family invites the groom's family with music and traditional instruments. This ritual is called Mappillai Azhaippu.
Mapillai azhaippu is a grand celebration in Chettiar marriage rituals to announce to the neighbourhood that the mapillai (groom) is in town and all the relatives of both the bride and groom participate in the ritual. The groom is taken in a procession which ends at the mandapam.
Traditionally, the groom’s family used to wait at a temple from which the bride’s family would invite them and get them over to the bride’s house or wedding hall for the wedding. Today, the mapillai azhaippu is done at a temple inside the compound of the wedding hall and then the groom’s family is taken into the mandapam.