The Tamil Vanniyar Kula Kshatriyas is a very strong community as they belong to a lineage of proud warriors. They are equipped in exhibiting bravery and courage all through their lives. The wedding rituals are also unique and show the grandeur of an exquisite heritage.
Nichayathartham or Engagement Ritual in Tamil Vanniyar Kula Kshatriyar Weddings
One of the main pre-wedding ceremonies is Nichiyathartham, which is engagement in Tamil. The customs and rituals followed are spectacular as they involve and include age-old tradition that has been handed over across generations. On the particular day fixed for the ceremony, the bridegroom goes to his prospective bride's house. An interesting feature here is that the headman of the bride's family should be present. This is a sign of the strong bondage among the family members.
The bridegroom's family headman or father presents a tray with auspicious items like betel leaves, decorative flowers, Money or jewels which form the Bride money (pariyam), some milk money (Mulapal Kuli) and coconuts. He gives it to the father /headman of the bride and proclaims that their daughter now belongs to his family whereas the money is a gift to her family. The milk money is an emotional gift to the mother of the bride, for all the care and love she showered on her daughter during infancy. The statements - 'Money is yours, Girl is ours’ is repeated thrice as a custom and then the maternal Uncle of the bride is handed some Pan-supari. This Uncle has an important role to play in the girl’s life. He is a person of importance and can also stop the Vanniyar weddings at any time, even during the main ceremony if he doesn’t approve of the choice.
In the Vannikula Vilakkam, it is stated that the girl, after her betrothal, has to touch the bow & sword of the brave bridegroom. In those days, the groom would reach the bride’s residence mounted on horseback in all his pomp and splendour. All these functions form the basis of a strong bond between the new couple as well as the families involved.