India is abode to various culture, dialects, sects and religions. From ancient times, we have had been evidence to numerous rituals and customs in sync with our varied culture and traditions. For every region we have their own staple food, dialects, costumes, customs and rituals and for many more ages to come we shall continue in our trend to have variety and diversity throughout the country.
Every state has its own customary trend in terms of food, attire, culture and even among various intrastate dialects and sects – there are varied customary delights which are worth mentioning of and being proud of – for the color of life and vigor they emit.
Though the northern part for the country has always been in the limelight one should be reminded that the southern zone of India is no lesser colorful and vivid with its traditional dresses, food, rituals and customs.
Be it a ritual of the Brahmin Tamils or the Kerala Nairs or the Vishwakarmas – who are equally spread in the three states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala – with their concentration in Kerala quite good in number.
Vishwakarmas in Kerala is considered a community that is very distinctive in terms of its own culture and traditions, right from its cultural divisions to its ceremonial rituals.
For example, coming to a typical Vishwakarma wedding, there are customs and rituals enriched and dipped in rich traditions and ancient cultural touch. Vishwakarma matrimony is quite different in nature to any other kind of wedding for its own unique rites and rituals.
The typical vishwakarma matrimony starts off with the ceremony of muhuratam, which is attended by the parents of the bride and the groom, important elders of both the families as well as, most importantly – the family priest. It is a ceremony or rather a ritual in which both the families and the priest choose out an auspicious day and time for holding the wedding. Generally keeping in suite with the ancient traditions, the bride and the groom are prohibited to attend this ceremony. The muhuratam is considered the very first of the pre-wedding rituals.
The next in line is the ceremony of the pendlikoothuru which is conducted individually in the homes of the bride and the groom by their respective families. It is an essential part to start the wedding as it involves the bride and the groom to be smeared with turmeric and oil and then taking a holy bath- indicative of the fact that they are sanctified of all evil before taking a plunge towards the sacred union of their lives.
The major part of the rituals generally take place on the wedding day starting with the mangala-snaanam followed by the worshipping ceremonies by both the bride and the groom. After taking an early morning bath, the bride performs a puja and offers her prayers to Goddess Durga whereas the bride-groom offers his prayers to Lord Ganesha, seeking their blessings for a fruitful and happy life ahead.
The vishwakarmas have a beautiful custom of carrying the beautifully decked up bride in a basket to the kalyan-mandap that is the wedding arena. More over the bride and the groom are also forbidden to see of each other until the moment when the wedding solemnized. This entire moment is called the kanya daan ceremony, indicative of the father giving the hand of his loved daughter to the groom and urging the groom to take all responsibilities henceforth.
This is then followed by the tying of the mangalsutra or the holy chain around the bride’s neck and the kanya daan akshata when the couple exchanges garlands. The wedding gets solemnized by the encircling of the holy fire by the bride and the groom – this ceremony called the saptapadi marks the end of the necessary rituals, defines the bride and the groom as man and wife. This is a very beautiful ritual, involves all family members and relatives to shower flowers and rice on the encircling couple. After the wedding has been solemnized, the parents of the bride wash the feet of the groom in show of gratitude and affection for the man in their daughter’s life.