The Arasan Kal is a ritual that is performed to seek blessings from the sacred Fig tree and the Bamboo Pole. The Fig tree is called Arasu or King of trees in Tamil.
Significance of Arasanikal or Arsan Kal Ritual in Tamil Mudaliyar Weddings
As per Mudaliyar history, Tamil kings were invited to the wedding to bless the couple. In modern times, to show respect to the king, a bamboo pole called "Arasan Kal" is erected in front of the marriage platform along with a Branch/Stick from the Fig Tree. This bamboo stick represents the presence of the king. Also, a fig tree is symbolic for its immortality and thus by planting this stick, they pray for a long and happy married life. In Hindu culture, this tree is thought of as a combination of the Trimurtis namely Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara in the form of a tree who through their presence in the Mandap will bless the couple on the auspicious occasion of wedding.
- This is an important Hindu wedding ritual where the Arasu tree is offered prayers
- 5 Sumangalis (married women who are elderly and living with their husbands) have to perform this event
- They bow down to the tree and then clean the Bamboo stick with milk before erecting it on the marriage Mandap
- After the cleansing, sandalwood paste is applied to it
- Turmeric is applied after using the sandalwood and a silk scarf is tied around it
- An 'Aarti' is performed by the Sumangalis and they seek the blessings for the successful completion of the marriage
- The bamboo stick is symbolic as it represents Arasan or the King and the Puja is performed to honor the King.
The milk-cleansing is a tradition that has been in practise since the days of the Kings. Milk-cleansing of the King’s feet was part of tradition and was considered as a mark of respect to the royalty. Post the dynasty rule in India, Bamboo sticks took the place of the King but the milk-cleansing ritual still carries on.