South Indian weddings are rich in rituals aimed at giving an auspicious start to the couple for a lifelong journey together. A Tamil Mudaliar Matrimony starts with a Nichayathartham or an engagement which opens the plethora of ceremonies that then take place at both the bride and groom’s houses, individually. These rituals are attended and actively participated in by all family members, making it a series of mini celebrations in itself.
Each day holds a different ceremony with a set intention. One such, is the Nalangu ceremony in which women of the family get to enjoy the most! Typically performed a night before the wedding in the homes of the bride and groom individually or together, it is considered to be a cleansing and purification ritual.
The Procedure for Nalangu Ritual in Tamil Mudaliyar Weddings
This pre-wedding ceremony starts with the bride and groom being seated on a mat. A tray is kept beside them that holds a divine pasty mix of turmeric, various lentil powders and fragrant oils. The tray also includes Kumkum and Limestone. Women in the family come forward and first apply Kumkum on the forehead followed by an application of the turmeric paste on the hands, legs, feet and cheeks of the couple. Upon completion, the elderly women of the family perform an Aarti for the couple offering their blessings. Other women attending join in by singing holy hymns that ask for the couple to be blessed with marital bliss and a long life.
While some families prefer to have this ceremony separately, others look forward to hosting this with both sides of the family together. The latter makes it an exciting affair and gives a great chance for both parties to get to know each other better. The evening is made more enjoyable with an array of games arranged for the families to participate in and have a jolly time. The Nalangu for bride and groom holds great importance for it’s main intent is to ensure that the couple is fresh, beautified and warded off any negative energy that surrounds them before their big day!