India is home to a variety of religions and all these religions differ from each other in some way or the other. But one thing that is common and is celebrated with full enthusiasm in all the religions is the wedding ceremony. Every religion wedding is unique in its own kind and also the place has an influence on the customs and rituals celebrated at the wedding. One of the most enjoyable marriages is the Malabar Muslim weddings of Kerala.
Malabar is the name for the Northern region of Kerala and has influences of Arab and Portuguese in its culture. Thus the wedding rituals of Malabar are unique and influenced by different cultures of Nair communities, Arab and North Indian traditions.
The traditions of marriage are initiated with a custom called Valayidal. In this ritual groom’s mother visits the bride’s home to gift her bangle or necklace. This gesture formalizes the alliance between both the families. This custom has a resemblance to the engagement ceremony of North Indian weddings. Followed by Valayidal, comes a custom called Naal Nischayam. This tradition involves fixing an auspicious date for the marriage ceremony.
A priest from Mosque usually helps to come up with the date. Then comes the ritual which is very significant in the Muslim religion, the Mehendi function (Mailanchi Raavu). It is held one night before the wedding day at the bride’s and groom’s residence. The hands and feet of the bride are decorated with attractive Mehendi design by an expert and the family members sing and dance in celebration.
This is succeeded by the Wedding day (Nikaah). This ceremony may take place at a mosque, or bride’s home or at a wedding hall. In this ceremony the priest offers prayers first and then the marriage contract is signed to formalize the marriage.
This is followed by a yummy feast including a variety of traditional Muslim and Malabar dishes. Then comes the unique custom of Arayil Koodal, in which the bride and groom are taken to a Maniyara, where the mother of bride offers a glass of milk to the couple which they have to share. Later in the evening, a big feast is organized by the bride’s family and this ritual is known as Veettil Koodal. After this comes the final reception ceremony which is called Salkaaram and with this ritual the celebration is concluded.
For one-stop solution to the management of Malabar Muslim Weddings, reach out to Kerala Wedding Planners and take the assistance of these professionals for stress-free wedding experience.
Blog by Muskan Mehta. She is a Wedding Planner with Kerala Wedding Planners Ernakulam