Earlier marriage brokers visited houses where the family members were in search of a bride or groom for their son or daughter. During the visit, brokers try to understand the requirements of the girl or the boy and give details of prospective alliances that seem suitable to the parties concerned. But things have changed a lot in the past few years. Marriages are no longer fixed the traditional way these days. There are new ways to search for a bride or a groom.
Placing an advertisement in newspapers is one among them. Matrimonial columns in newspapers help in getting details of prospective brides & grooms. Some people also give advertisements in magazines.
Approaching marriage bureaus and gathering details on good proposals is also common today. There are online sites that do a wonderful service in this regard. Families can register on matrimony websites by giving their details and expectations for the bride or groom to be. One of the advantages of registering on these matrimony sites is one can search for specific requirements by giving search criteria and contact the parties directly.
After collecting a good number of proposals the elders of the family can contact the family members of the boy or girl and invite them to their house. It is generally the boy’s family who visits the girl’s house and convey their interest in going ahead with the marriage. If both the families are interested in the proposal then they start the pre-marriage ceremonies.
The bride’s family visits the groom’s house and fix the date of Nischayam (Malayalam word for engagement) and marriage. When fixing the date of marriage, the auspicious time called the Muhurtham is also decided. Exchanging of garlands and tying of the nuptial knot takes place at the specific Muhurtham time. Most of the families fix Muhurtham after consulting with a Thantri (Malayalee Hindu Priest) or an astrologer.
Matching of horoscopes
Before the Malayalee wedding, the horoscope of bride and groom is checked to determine the compatibility factor. It is done by an astrologer. Many astrological calculations are done and the astrologer conveys the result. Both the families agree to the marriage only if the horoscopes match.
Nischayam or the Engagement ceremony
Before marriage, the engagement ceremony is conducted. This ceremony is conducted at the ancestral house of the bride. It is kind of mini marriage function where close relatives of bride and groom participate. Announcement of marriage date and family details of bride and groom are done during this ceremony. Nischaya thaamboolam or the engagement thali is exchanged by the family of bride and groom and this officially indicates the fixing of the marriage. Some families also have the ring exchange ceremony. After the ceremony traditional feast is arranged at the venue.
On this day, relatives and friends of bride and groom are present at the venue. Garlands are exchanged between bride and groom. The groom ties a “thali” on bride’s neck and this symbolizes the starting of a life time relationship between them as husband and wife. In Hindu marriage tying of the nuptial knot takes place exactly at Muhurtham. According to Hindu philosophy, Muhurtham is considered as the most apt time to start a new relationship.
The newly married couple start a family life.