Merry Christmas everyone!!
Today, on the eve of Christmas, we thought we would present some important christian wedding rituals in India and what’s better place to choose than Kerala.The moment I said an Kerala christian wedding, my thoughts go back to the movie vinnaithandi varuvaya or Ye maya chesave in telugu and for obvious reasons revolves around the character Jessie.
Keralite Christian wedding are undoubtedly fascinating. They have beautiful white weddings at churches which is usally a serene afair.
One would be really fascinated on how the rituals are performed.Once the alliance is finalised by the Bride’s and Groom’s family, they would appeal for a sanction for the wedding at the local church.Upon that, the girl and the boy are asked if they agree to the wedding. This is called the ‘Manasammadam’ /engagement and their response is recorded and the same is announced on three consecutive sundays at the church. It is also pinned up on the church’s notice boards.This is check if any one has any objection against the marriage and necessary actions are taken accordingly.
What’s more interesting is the bride and groom even have to complete a Pre-wedding course where are even taught the importance of love, trust and relationships.
After that a wedding date for the wedding known as “Kettukalyanam” is fixed.On the day of the wedding, the brides and groom’s family reach the venue which is usually a church.The bride is usually seen in a white wedding gown or a golden white saree with a veil on top of her head.In the church in front of the altar the following rituals are performed.
Joining of Hands
Similar to the holy ‘panigrahanam‘, christian wedding have the joining for the hands.The priest takes the right hand of the bride and places it right hand of the groom.Later, the couple is made to exchange wedding vows in front of the altar while their family members acts as witness.
Blessings from the Priest
The priest blesses the couple with a chain which has a cross. He rotates the chain which has a cross shaped pendant around them and blesses them with all his heart for their new start in life.
Exchange of rings
As in any other culture,the bride and groom exchange ringS as a symbol of marriage. Wedding bands made of any pure metal such as gold or platinum are exchanged as to signify purity and eternity.Additional phrases/verses are spelled by both the bride and groom as they put the rings on each other, sealing their love for life.
Minnukettu (Tying the knot)
Now, this is the epitome and a very interesting ritual.Similar to the Thiru mangalyam or Tali in any south Indian wedding, Syrian Christians of Kerala practice the Minnukettu. For this 21 threads from the bride’s Red saree taken out, they are made into a bunch of seven threads each and the three bunchs are combined and the ‘Minnu’ which is a leaf shaped pendant is put into it.This process is usually done by the groom’s sister the night before the wedding.The ‘Minnu’ is made of gold with 7 tiny beads placed together on the leaf to form a cross , symbolising the holy cross.
The Minnu is tied around the bride’s neck by the groom on the day of their marriage. The knot tied is called the reef knot which is said to be the toughest of all and that which cannot be un knotted.
After seven days of marriage, the minnu is put on a gold chain and is expected to be worn till death. Minnu is an indication of a married woman.
Manthrakodi (Wedding Sari)
Manthrakodi is similar to our Pradhanam saree, which is usually gifted by the groom to the bride which is usually red/Maroon in color . The groom covers the head of the bride with this saree after the Minnukettu.
Lighting the lamp.
With Manthrakodi, the church wedding ceremony comes to an end. Later the bride changes into the Manthrakodi saree and usually a reception is held on the same day. They bride and groom light a lamp together representing a holy union followed by cutting a cake.
Beautiful Tradition Isn’t it?
Hope you folks enjoyed knowing about these traditions, we will bring you more on these in the upcoming features.Stay Tuned.