This article is about the Kerala Christian Wedding, its ceremonies and rituals.
Kerala, also known as God’s own country is rich in diverse tradition and culture. You can find many Hindu families, Christian families and Muslim families that make it one of the three major communities in Kerala. In them, the Kerala Christian wedding is quite popular across India for its simplicity.
Kerala Christian people consider marriage as a union of two people preordained by God. These people have immense faith in God. Usually, the marriage of Kerala Christian bride and groom is arranged by the parents. Once both the families are mutually convinced and satisfied with the family status and background, a wedding date is fixed by the parents.
There are many Kerala Christian matrimony sites through which people can build a good matrimonial profile and find their life partner. The weddings conducted in Kerala Christian community are church weddings where the bride wears a stunning golden border white saree that is combined with striking jewellery pieces. Kerala marriage rituals are a bit different from North Indian Christians.
Following are the major pre-wedding and wedding ceremonies of Kerala Christian wedding.
Pre-wedding rituals of Kerala Christian marriage
The Aacharaarakalyanam is a traditional ceremony that has been practised over generations that initiates wedding customs. Similar to other wedding rituals of other Indian communities, Aachaaarakalyanam is an event where the elders/family members of the bride visit the groom’s family to fix the wedding rate.
Manasammatham or Betrothal
Once the date is fixed, this is a second event that happens at every Kerala Christian marriage. In this ritual, both the families of the bride and the groom get together at a church. Here, the priest carries out a confirmation if the wedding is acceptable by both the bride and groom’s families in the presence of two witnesses. As per the tradition, the exchange of rings was not part of this ceremony but it has gradually become a significant ritual in engagement. The Betrothal ends with a grand feast.
Sthuthi cholluka and Guru Dakshina
Sthuthi Cholluka and Guru Dakshina are two ceremonies that transpire on the day of the wedding. Sthuthi Cholluka is a tradition where a series of prayers are said which is considered auspicious. Guru Dakshina, as in the name, is a tradition where the bride takes blessings from the elders. The groom too takes blessings from his elder family members. Both the ceremonies take place at the bride and groom’s respective homes.
After seeking blessings, the bride and groom’s family move to the church. To welcome the bride, groom and their families along with little girls carry flowers. They walk first through the church aisle while other members enter the church. To symbolize wellbeing and prosperity, the families bring flower and fruit baskets in the church.
Both the groom and the bride make their way to the altar. The first step of the wedding ceremony is to light the lamp together. The bride and the groom light the lamp placed in front of the altar together. The priest then takes charge of the wedding by reading Bible verses. The priest speaks about the significance of marriage and their sanctity. Once the bride and the groom agree to be man and wife, all the families, guests with the bride and groom proceed for the next ritual.
One of the most vital rituals in the Kerala Christian Wedding, the groom ties a thali on the bride’s neck. The thali is known as Minnu. It is hanged on a string that is made from the seven threads that are taken from the Mantrakodi (a red saree). He places this saree over the bride’s head while the priest blesses the Mantrakodi before putting it around the neck of the bride.
At the end of this wedding ceremony, the couple signs their names in the register along with two witnesses. Thus the marriage is officially registered. The bride leaves to wear the Mantrakodi.
As the wedding focuses on worship and not on the celebration, music like Sangeet is not part of the wedding ceremony. Nevertheless, delicate hymns, church choir and religious songs make the whole Kerala Christian marriage a memorable experience to relish.
After the Minnukettu ceremony, the priest dips the holy bread pieces in the wine and gives to bride, groom and rest of the family. Everyone then proceeds for the grand feast.
A wedding reception is helped for the newlywed couple with friends and family celebrating the bride and groom as a couple sharing the good fortune and blessings.
Kerala Christian Bride Attire
In India, there are so many types of wedding attires brides wear. But a Kerala Christian bride wears the most distinctive combination of a saree and a veil. The attire is white, off-white or cream shade silk saree with a golden border. Accessories include a watch, golden bangles on her wrist and a light bridal necklace with a pair of shiny earrings that finish the look. Some brides also wear a tiara. What makes the Kerala Christian bride stand apart is her beautiful net veil. As she walks down the aisle, she looks gorgeous with a bunch of flowers in her hands and a smile on her face.
Kerala Christian Groom Attire
While some say that men don’t have enough options to choose their wedding outfit, there are always rooms to explore and experiment. The conventional attire of a Kerala Christian groom is a three-piece suit that the groom wears on his wedding day. These days many men prefer donning a tuxedo. Some grooms play safe with colours like black and navy blue, some men explore their looks by going for offbeat shades such as electric blue, beige or even classic brown. The groom can also wear a bow-tie instead of a tie and a pocket square to look dashing and handsome as ever.
What to wear if you are a wedding guest
If you are invited to a Kerala Christian wedding, bear in mind that this is a simple affair and doesn’t require much bling. Wear clothes that are simple yet stylish. Women can wear a flowy chiffon saree or an evening gown while men can opt for a simple shirt-pant combination or suit.