While Tamil matrimony traditions may come off as lengthy, it has some of the most profound rituals with deep meaning that have been maintained over time. The Mudaliar traditions for weddings are applicable to both bride and grooms equally and are performed separately or together. The first wedding ritual that is followed by this community on the day of the wedding is the Yennai Seekai nalangu. This purifying ritual is performed by the bride and groom in their respective rooms or on the wedding dias early in the morning.
The Procedure for Yennai Seekai Nalangu Rituals in Tamil Mudaliyar Weddings
Yennai Seekai Nalangu means a nalangu on the day of wedding with Yennai (oil) and seekai or shikakai (Acacia concinna). On the morning of the wedding, the bride is made to sit on a manai (a small raised wooden plank). Three or five sumangalis (married women with living husbands), come forward and each one of them takes a little yennai, to place it on the head of the bride. Then, they take the seekai and place it on the head of the bride. Once this is done by the sumangalis, they do an arathi for the bride and then send her off to have a purifying bath. The same ritual is performed for the groom as well.
The intention behind this ritual is to purify the to-be couple’s physical and spiritual body. It is believed that the purification is carried out by the medicinal properties of yennai and seekai. Apart from the ritualistic perspective, yennai seekai nalangu acts as a relaxing spa-like treatment to calm nerves. This ceremony is usually performed in the backyard of their homes, terrace or even at a mandap.