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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Ancient Tamil Marriage Ceremony

[see also புரட்சித் திருமணத் திட்டம்]

P.T.Srinivasa Aiyangar
in History of Tamils from the Earliest Times to 600 A.D.
Madras, 1929

"The ancient ceremony of marriage which obtained among the Tamils before it was altered by the Aryans is described in two odes of the anthology called the Agam. (aka n^AnURu) Thus it is said:

 “There was a huge heap of rice cooked with pulse (even after many guests had been fed). On the floor of a pandal built on long rows of wooden columns was spread freshly brought sand. House lamps were lighted. The bride and the bridegroom were adorned with flower-garlands. In the beautiful morning of the day of the bent, bright moon, when the stars shed no evil influence, some women carrying pots on the head, others bearing new, broad bowls, handed them one after another while fair elderly dames were making much noise. Mothers of sons, with bellies marked with beauty-spots, wearing beautiful ornaments, poured water on the bride, so that her black hair shone bright with cool petals of flowers and rice-grains (which had been mixed with the water), and at the same time they blessed her, saying ‘do not swerve from the path of chastity, be serviceable in various ways to your husband who loves you and live with him as his wife’. On the night after the marriage ceremony was over, the neighbouring ladies assembled, (dressed the bride in new clothes) and sent her to the arms of her lover, to which she went with trepidation.”(1)

It will be noticed that in this ancient Tamil rite of marriage there is absolutely nothing Aryan, no lighting of fire, no circumambulation of fire, and no priest to receive daksina.

 Another ode in the same anthology refers also to the wedding-rite. 

“White rice, well cooked and with plenty of ghi, was served to the elders with stintless generosity. The omens shown by the birds were propitious. The broad sky shone bright. The moon was in faultless conjunction with the Rohini asterism. The marriage-house was decked. They worshipped God. The big drums resounded with wedding tunes. Excited women were peeping winklessly with their flower-like eyes at the bride who had been bathed (and decorated). The image (to be worshipped) of big flower-petals, clear like a gem that has been well washed, was placed on the soft văgai flower with the double leaf whose back-side is bright, and the arugai grass which grows in low land when the roaring clouds pour the first rain and which is eaten by calves. It was decked with cool, sweet flower buds and white thread, clothed with holy cloth, so as to look grand. The bride (was seated) under a pandal, on the floor of which sand was strewn, looking as if rain-drops had fallen. She was perspiring with her load of ornaments. (They fanned her) to dry the wet. Then her relatives gave her away”. (2)


1. Agam 86, 1-22
2. Agam 136, 2-8

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