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What Is the Objective of Wearing a “Thali” at a Tamil Wedding?

Tamil Wedding

Tamil Wedding

Tamil wedding rituals are known to be unique, elegant, and steeped in traditional values. They are the perfect depiction of the rich heritage imbibed from the Puranas and Vedas. As such, Tamil matrimony binds together not just the bride and the groom but also their families.

They involve a long series of rituals that start before and continue after the day of the wedding. Among the main customs that mark a Tamil wedding, an important one is the tying of the Thali, which is also known as ThaliKattu.

The Thali can be called the Tamil Mangalasutra, and it is an important part of Hindu Tamil weddings. There is a lot of symbolism attached to this beautiful piece of jewelry that forms an integral part of the Tamil wedding customs.

The Symbolism and Meaning behind Tying Of The Thali

The traditional idea behind tying the Thali is the same as the Mangalasutra, which literally means auspicious thread. The groom has to tie it around the bride’s neck at the wedding to signify that the couple is married now. But there is more symbolism to this sacred thread at Tamil Matrimony

The groom has to tie three knots in the Thali, and each of the knots represents Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra. Additionally, these three knots also symbolize the three main responsibilities of a married woman.

The first one represents her dedication to her husband, the second one to his parents, and the final one to God. There is also a belief that the three knots represent the three protectors of women, starting with her father in her childhood, her husband in her youth, and her son in her old age. The idea is that a woman should never remain unprotected.

Tamil women need to wear the Thali not only as a symbol of their marriage but also for their husband’s health and wellbeing. Traditionally, it was also believed that Thali regularises the blood circulation of women and also helps in controlling their blood pressure, so women must always have the Thali touching their body. Of course, there is no scientific basis to prove these traditional ideas. 

The Rituals Associated With Preparing the Thali

The original Thali was a thread that was prepared by applying turmeric (known as ‘manjalthool’ in Tamil) on it, though nowadays, gold Thalis are made for the brides. Furthermore, the size of the Thali was traditionally determined by the bride’s age.

So, for a bride who is twenty years old, the Thali would be twenty pavin. Tamil weddings typically also have a ritual called ‘ponnurukkal,’ where the jeweler melts gold to create the Thali. 

Both families need to be present to mark the auspicious occasion of ponnurukkal. The moment this ceremony gets completed, the groom and the bride aren’t allowed to see each other before their wedding day. 

Thali has different colors and names in different states of India. For instance, it’s Mangalasutra in e

Punjab and Thali in Tamil Nadu. However, Thalis are of different types, even within Tamil Nadu. So, the two main types are Pilaiyar Thali and the Amman Thali. 

Now, the Amman Thali is for love marriages, where the star signs and the horoscope (‘kurippu’) are not paid attention to before the wedding. The Pilayar Thali in Tamil Matrimony is for arranged marriages, where all these factors are checked beforehand, and the wedding takes place only when everything is perfectly matched.

You can check out https://www.tamilshaadi.com if wearing a Thali is on your mind! Both these Thalis have the pendant of a god and two gold coins on either side of that pendant.

The classic Thali is called MinnalKodi, which is like a piece of gold thread that gets tied around the bride’s neck. Back in the day, they also made Thalis with simple yellow threads that had gold at the bottom in the coins and the idol of God. However, all kinds of Thalis are found nowadays, and they even come in different designs.

The Rituals Associated With the Thali on the Wedding Day

The Thali is bought by the boy’s family for the girl, and it is tied to the bride’s neck on the day of the wedding.ThaliKattu comes after the rituals of Kanyathanam (kanyadan) and Sapthapathi. 

So, after the Sapthapathi, the groom presents the Koorai (silk wedding sari) and the Thali to the bride. The Thali and the Koorai are circulated among the elderly family members at the gathering so that they can each take turns in blessing the two items. Afterward, the bride has to leave the Manavarai (wedding stage or ‘mandap’) to wear the Koorai. 

She comes back to the Manavarai wearing her Koorai and holding the garland for the groom. With the tying of the sacred Thali around her neck by her husband, the change in her marital status gets signified. Amidst the melodious tunes of the Kettimelan (wedding song), the couple gets pronounced as wife and husband. The garlands are exchanged, and the rhythmic beats of the drum (thavils) fill the room.

Modern Designs Noted In the Tamil Thali

As with any form of jewelry, the traditional Thali has undergone a sea change in modern times in terms of its designs, weight, and even preferred materials. Families no longer determine the size or weight of the Thali based on the age of the girl but rather on the financial ability of the family or the person. 

The pendant of the Thali is usually made of two to eight grams of gold, and they are not even shaped like coins anymore. You will find Thalis shaped like leaves and hearts these days, and gold is no longer the only preferred material. Diamond studded Thali pendants have become quite popular these days.

Parting Words

And that’s it! You now know all there is about the Thali and its significance at a Tamil wedding. It is more than a piece of jewelry because it’s so beautifully woven in tradition. So, when are wedding bells ringing and the Thali shopping starting for you?