Things to Know Before Attending a South Indian Wedding
Attending a South Indian wedding is an experience unlike any other and is a direct window into the rich culture and elaborate traditions of the South.
April 01, 2019
But like it's prior to attending any traditional event, it is necessary to do some homework so you don't get thrown away (both figuratively and literally!) . So, if you're prepping your very best sherwani (first mistake) and getting ready to attend a South Indian wedding, here is everything you should know before you appear.
If you think you know what there is to learn about Indian weddings simply because you have binge-watched a lot of Bollywood films, then you're dead wrong. Not only are South and North Indian weddings culturally distinct, but they also comprise vastly different dressing styles. If you are considering getting yourself a slick sherwani and showing up in the wedding dressed like Shah Rukh Khan, you're going to stand out like a sore thumb. The traditional attire that typically passes for a South Indian wedding guest is a white blouse and a veshti (a lace Dhoti). However, wearing a veshti is often just as complicated as draping a saree. So, if you do not want it to come off at the middle of the event, make certain you seek assistance from somebody who knows how to tie you.
Wake up early or miss the series
Picking a date and time for Indian Hindu weddings is performed in line with the alignment of the stars and traditional calendars. Often times, the time for the actual wedding ceremony can be as early as 4 am! Therefore, if you don't need to overlook the principal part of the wedding, ensure that you understand when the Muhurtham or auspicious time is and wake up .
It’s a long affair
Unlike weddings in different religions or customs, which normally have a day at max, pre-wedding and follow-up rituals to get a South Indian wedding could last several days. Traditionally, in certain customs, such as with Telugu weddings, they used to continue up to a max of 16 days! Nonetheless, in the past few decades, this has come down to two or three in most South Indian customs. Each day suggests a particular theme and has set rituals to it and weddings can also be quite long depending on the status of the household.
It's definitely going to be loud
Indian weddings across the country are pretty loud rituals and events are always accompanied by music. But we're not talking about some DJ at the corner dishing out Bollywood numbers, instead than the audio that will be played will frequently be a kind of classical instrumental music.
Practice eating with your hand
Among the most difficult items to adjust to in a South Indian wedding, especially if you're a Westerner, is how guests don't use spoons, or some other cutlery for that matter, while eating. This is due to the fact that the food in South Indian weddings is served in a traditional way on a banana leaf also it is traditionally supposed to be consumed using your hand. You may ask for a spoon and use it, but if you do not desire funny looks from everyone around, you'd better exercise eating with your hands. Another thing to remember is that South Indians, particularly the elderly ones, scoff at the practice of using two hands, so use only the most suitable one!
There's a Ideal order to eating
South Indian wedding meals are among the best parts of the whole event and are particularly elaborate affairs which are given the most attention into by the hosts. In most cases, there could be around a dozen items on the menu and virtually all these are served at the same time on a single banana leaf. While the first thing that's placed is usually a sweet, it is customary to not begin eating before each item is placed on the foliage, so control your sweet tooth for a short time. As for the main course, the typical order is three courses of rice, the first with sambhar, the next with rasam and the last using buttermilk or curd. The cup with payasam (a kind of South Indian rice pudding) usually serves as dessert and is assumed to be consumed at the end of the meal.
Folding the leaf
If you just appreciated your full-course South Indian wedding meal and detect people giving you weird looks as you're walking away in the dining table, it might be due to the way you folded your banana leaf. While it might be a peculiar and easy habit, the side on which the banana leaf is folded following the meal is deeply symbolic to South Indian culture and may even be construed as a slight when done the wrong way. When some cultures differ in their interpretation, the principle followed by a majority of South Indian cultures is that you simply just take the top portion of the leaf and fold it on the lower portion. This means that you enjoyed the meal and doing it another way could possibly be hailed as a complaint!
Fun and games
Even though South Indian weddings are somewhat more sombre compared to Punjabi or North Indian ones, that does not mean that there can't be some fun rather than all of the rituals are all about serious prayers and claims. A number of pre-wedding rituals in South Indian weddings often involve games which are played between the bride and the groom, together with guests taking part in supporting the two. Though the majority of these are silly and enjoyable, like the couple seeking to get a coin from a pot of milk at precisely the same time or trying to prevent a garland from their spouse, the premise of those games is to assist the couple become comfortable with each other, since most Southern Indian weddings are arranged marriages.
If you have already purchased something for the couple and are going with a well-thought-out present , there is not anything to be concerned about. Nonetheless, in the event you haven't bought anything and are planning to get away with just gifting money, that's just as acceptable too, provided that you follow one crucial rule. Traditionally, gifting money is regarded as an important habit to help to new bunch start their lives together. The easiest way to begin this is to add a one rupee coin into whatever amount you are giving and provide it to the couple in an envelope.
You'll probably get suitors
Since organized marriages still very much exist in South India, elders of the household often spend the job of searching for a qualified bride or groom quite badly during weddings. Someone's wedding is always a market-ground for someone else's future wedding. And if you're an eligible bachelor or bachelorette, there's a fantastic chance that you'll be at the receiving end of probing questions. Additionally, marriages in South India are decided by something called a Jathakam (birth chart), so don't be surprised if somebody asks you for your date of birth out of the blue!