There is a reason why Indian weddings are called Big Fat Weddings. The exuberance, the pomp and the grandeur can’t be matched anywhere else in the world. Home to various cultures, it has an amalgamation of traditions and customs. Unlike other tedious and long ceremonies, the Malayali weddings are short and sweet.
The beauty of India lies in its diversity. People of different cultures, races, castes and backgrounds live together. They celebrate their love and warmth in unique ways. Even the celebrations in India are vibrant, buoyant and full of emotion. Whether you belong to the North or the East, a wedding brings with several events and customs. It can be fun but it can also get tedious and exhausting. Did you know some of the ceremonies last 3-4 hours? Imagine being decked up in heavy clothes, makeup and gold jewelry for so long! Before you decide to become a recluse and vow to never attend a wedding again, relax.
Some of India’s regions and cultures have small, brief ceremonies that get over in no time. For example, the South of India. Various cultures, castes and backgrounds belong in the South and they are different than any other culture in India. Malayali weddings are so enriching and inspiring, you’ ll love them. Malayali’s belong to Kerala and they thrive on their roots and traditions. There are sects and types of Malayali weddings but most have common traditions and customs.
A Malayali wedding usually begins with the families meeting each other. In 2018 when love marriages are common, this is an important moment. An astrologer is also invited to check the horoscopes. He sets the suitable date for the wedding based on the horoscopes. Sweets are distributed to near and dear ones once the date is set. Modern couples and the younger generation chose to have an ‘engagement’ ceremony. This isn’t traditional or required in Malayalis but they do it so they can celebrate with family. Rings are exchanged and the bride is showered with gifts. Guests are invited to dinner and mark this momentous occasion. Traditionally the Malayali bride is given silk sarees, gold and sweets. Certain Malayali families decide to exchange the rings on the day of the wedding. Malayalis consider gold auspicious and their rings are made of pure gold. Counting the pre-wedding functions and ceremonies, Malayali weddings last for 2-3 days.
Indian weddings are so thoughtful because each custom has a reason and a story behind it. The Malayalis consider their lineage to be Dravidian. Dravidians worship the Sun God and trace their ancestry to him. So they do all auspicious things early morning. Hence Malayali weddings happen really early or first thing in the morning. For all night owls, attending a Malayali wedding can mean bidding your sleep adieu! Sticking to conventions and rituals, Malayali weddings are quiet and simple. They eschew the loud music, loud colors and extravagance. Brides choose muted but rich colors of red, gold or white and the groom wears white and gold. Don’t let the lack of gaudy colors fool you. Malayalis are famed to wear and gift the most amount of gold. A Malayali bride will wear as many gold ornaments she can as they are her gifts. You will be surprised about the lack of noise and chaos. Guests don’t drink alcohol or dance to crazy music till the sun rises. The traditional 7 pheras associated with Indian weddings also don’t apply here. Malayalis only take 3 pheras! Isn’t that amazing? They have to walk around the sacred fire 3 times. The priests chant the mantras till the 3 pheras are completed. After the pheras, the groom ties a yellow thread around the bride’s neck (as a mangalsutra) and voila! They are husband and wife in the eyes of God!