Lois here again, still updating from Australia. Here's Part II of our marvelous India excursion, and my son Nicholas's wedding (read Part I here)!
Nicholas, and his now wife(!), Lakshmi were married twice—last week in India and this week in Australia. Here's the India wedding story, written with the assistance of Lakshmi’s parents, Neelakandan and Kalpana.
The official wedding ceremony on July 11th began early, leaving the hotel at 5:15 a.m. after very late evening celebrations. The ceremony was all in Tamil, with no translation...so I completed tasks as directed.
First, Nicholas was welcomed by uncles, aunts, and his friends. In the Tamil tradition, the groom is not satisfied with the arrangements made by the bride’s parents and exits the ceremony. The bride’s parents go after the groom and request he forgive everything, asking the groom to marry their daughter. After seeing his beautiful bride in front on him, he changes his mind and joins in the ceremony to marry happily.
The groom and bride exchange exquisite garlands made of white rosebuds, yellow chrysanthemums, and tassels with three lotus flowers. (These will be framed by the bride’s parents for preservation.)
After the exchange of the garland, a tired bride and groom happily sit on the swing, their feet washed by mothers and close aunts. Rice is cooked and mixed with turmeric powder and Kumkum and made into several red and yellow balls. The bride’s mother begins a ceremony to ward off the evil spirits. The ceremony happens by rotating the rice dish in front of the bride and groom, in both a clockwise and counter-clockwise direction before throwing the rice balls in all four compass directions. The groom's mother repeats these steps. An odd number of close relatives also repeat this ceremony.
The last ceremony is known as aarathi. The groom and bride’s mother take the remaining yellow and red rice balls, dissolve the rice in water, and circle the bowl clockwise only, pouring the water on the rangoli on the floor.
After this ceremony, the bride is given a nine yard maroon saree by the groom. The bride changes into this saree and returns. A simple puja (act of worship) is performed as a homam by the groom. The bride is required to sit on the father’s lap and the mangal sutra (giving away the bride) is shown to everyone by the priest and given to the groom, who places it around the neck of the bride. All the blessings from the heavenly gods, relatives, and friends are shown by the throwing of rice mixed with turmeric powder and rose petals. Then, the bride's maternal uncle gives a saree to the bride with a finger and toe ring and dresses to her parents.
A sumptuous meal of 21 courses is given to all invitees. The wedding ceremony ends with a happy aarathi for both the groom and the bride. And, all wedding attendees are given return gifts.
I'm so overwhelmed with joy for my boy and his new wife.