The Kongu Vellalar Gounder community has a rich history as they are known to be the descendants of proud warriors who were engaged in battles during the Chera and Chola reign in South India. They are a group who follow family traditions and take their responsibilities very seriously. They have very interesting age old Tamil wedding traditions, which bring the whole family together and provide great support for the new couple. All traditions and ceremonies followed during the three-day-long wedding instill a sense of close bonding and deep-rooted affection between both families.
Significance of Aarathi Eduthal in Tamil Gounder Wedding
As an auspicious start to the bride’s life in her new home, Aarathi Eduthal is a Kongu Vellalar Gounder marriage procedure in Tamil Nadu. This takes place just before she steps into her home for the rest of her life. Her mother in law or any other elderly female family member holds out a lamp of light and blesses her. This is a symbol of new hope and wonderful beginnings in her husband’s home.
What Happens During the Aarathi Eduthal Ritual
A lamp is placed artistically on a plate made of copper, bronze or silver and represents a strong foundation for their new life. The lamp can be made of clay, or even metal and is filled with ghee or oil. It represents the joy and protection she will find in her new home. Cotton wicks are arranged in odd numbers and lit to produce a beautiful Diya (Light). There is also some camphor which the mother in law lights as the couple enter the house. A mixture of turmeric and limestone solution, red in colour, is also placed on the Aarathi plate. This is yet another act that blesses the fusion of two souls to begin a unique journey.
This Aarathi plate, once lit, is moved in a circular motion, both clockwise and anti-clockwise, three times around the newly wed couple. This symbolises blessings and removal of any negative energy that may surround the couple. They are then led inside the house, ready to receive the blessings of the elders in the groom's family.