Pre-wedding rites is the next step in Gounder weddings after Sagunam parthal. The traditions followed in a Tamil Gounder wedding is based on the old Sangam way. In marriages which follow the Sangam period, the holy fire or Agni Kundam is not kept and Vedic hymns are not chanted.
Wedding Performed by Elders in the Kongu Community Tamil Gounder
The marriage is a three-day affair and the relatives volunteer to help in work related to the wedding which shows the strong love and affection the community has for one another. The Tamil Hindu Gounder marriage is conducted by the Kongu Vellalar community elders called ‘Arumaikaarar’ and ‘Arumakaari’ who have the deepest knowledge of the Kongu history and are well respected in the community.
A pandal is put up which shows that a marriage is going to be held and many events like the Pariyam Idudhal, Nichayadhaartham, Kulam Kodhudhal, etc are some of the pre-wedding events.
Communities and People Involved in a Kongu Wedding Ritual
Navidhar: The Navidhar who is a barber is another key person in the Gounder community wedding rituals, he is also referred to as the ‘Kudimagan’ (local). He invites the families, sings the Mangala Vaazhthu (auspicious ballad) and does the groom’s hair before the marriage.
Kammaalar: The wood for fire and boxes for the Madaikalam Vaithal(storing for the rainy season) is provided by the Kammaalar, the wood artisans. Traditionally, the Kammaalars are the artisans who make the agricultural tools for the Gounder community.
Vannaan: The pandal(marquee) or mandabam is raised by the vannaan(washerman). He decorates it with colourful sarees and half sarees.
Paraiyar: The musical treat for the wedding is by the paraiyars. They are musicians who play on large traditional drums adding rhythm to the wedding.
Vetkovar: The earthen pots are made especially for the wedding rituals by the vetkover (potter).
Maadhaari: The maadhaaris are cobblers who craft a new pair of footwear for the groom and bride.
Pandaaram: In the early days the pandaarams (caterers) would lead the wedding prayers but nowadays they are restricted to just catering food for the wedding.