The Tamil Kongu Vellalar kalyanam (wedding) is celebrated for three consecutive days. Here we can find a brief about what happens on those three days of the wedding.
The Three day Wedding Rituals in Tamil Gounder Weddings
Naal Virundhu: It is the first day of marriage - a feast is hosted by the immediate relatives (cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents) of the bride and groom. This is especially for the bride and groom families to celebrate the wedding and also create a friendly atmosphere between the immediate relatives of both sides.
This is the second day of the wedding and the Gounder community being a close-knit group offers to help the bride’s family on marriage-related work before and while the wedding is taking place. They help in marriage arrangements such as the erection of the pandal (temporary shed), hairdressing of the bridegroom by the Kudimagan (Barber), and a formal wedding announcement by beating the drums takes place. The drum beating in the earlier days was done by the Kudimagan who would walk through the village making the announcement to all. Nowadays this kind of announcement is hardly in place. It still exists in some villages but the urban crowd doesn’t practice it anymore.
Muhurtha Kaal: The bride’s relatives make arrangements for the wedding like constructing and decorating the muhurtha pandal, cutting firewood and cooking. The Muhurtha Kaal (pandal) is erected by three Arumaikaarars (Kongu Vellalar community elders) with the help of the Vannaan (washerman). This indicates that the wedding ceremony will take place the next day. Loud music by the Paraiyars (musicians) adds a festive feel to the day.
Muhurtham: The third day has the most important wedding rituals for the Tamil Gounder community. The bride and the groom will wear traditional dresses and perform the core ceremony sitting on a platform. The groom will tie the thali or the Mangalya around the neck of the bride, Mangala Vadyams (auspicious musical instruments) are played by paraiyars (people from the paraiya section of the community who play rhythmic beats on their traditional large drums) during the thali tying ceremony. The music by the paraiyars ensures that each and every person attending the wedding ceremony is involved in the happenings at the wedding especially during the muhurtham.
Then, the newlyweds exchange garlands which complete the wedding rituals. Many marriage rites like the Tharai Varthal (a father handing over his daughter by pouring water thereby transferring the rights of taking care of her to her newly-wed husband), Kaappu, etc.
A Kalyana Virundhu (wedding feast) which is a lavish vegetarian feast on plantain leaves is served to all the guests after the Kongu wedding rituals.