Kerala weddings are known for their rich traditions which have been passed on through the generations for centuries. Today, weddings are taking a turn towards contemporary and in this situation, if you attend a complete traditional wedding, it will definitely make your heart warm and fuzzy. It is a well-known fact that people of various religions like Hindu, Muslim and Christian are residing in Kerala. In this article, we will see elaborately about the Kerala Christian wedding tradition. In Kerala Christianity originated in 52 AD and the Christians in this state adhere to Syrian rites in contrast to the Latin rites followed in the West. So, the Kerala Christians are popularly called as Syrian Christians.
When it comes to wedding costumes, it will be a mixture of ancient Jewish costume and Hindu costume, which will result in the wide serious of rituals together. The Christians in Kerala follow a typical pattern in certain specifics but vary in terms of denominations. Many traditional and rituals are performed for several days before the wedding date but we have discussed the rites followed in the church during wedding.
Holding of Hands
Usually, the wedding ceremony takes place in the church in which the groom’s family is a member. In front of the gathered crowd, the priest takes the bride’s right hand and places it on the right hand of the groom. Following this, the priest will be reading a few gospels related to the marriage while the couple is standing facing the altar and holding each other’s hands. Vows and commitments will be exchanged by each other publicly.
The priest will take a gold chain with a cross and hover it around the heads of the couple in the form of crown. This will be repeated for three times to symbolize that the couple is king and queen of their married life. However, this ceremony is not common for all denominations. In specific customs, the priest will be simply blessing the bride and the groom without crowning them.
Exchange of rings is also a part of wedding ceremony regardless of the denominations. This custom originated in Christian religion from the old testament when a servant was sent by Abraham in search of a wide for the son Isaac. He gave a ring to the servant, which was regarded as the symbol of faithfulness and love. It represents the promise made between woman and man. The round shape of the ring represents the eternal marriage which is free from all sorts of negative aspects. The wedding rings are made using precious metals such as platinum and gold symbolizing that wedding is a precious agreement between a woman and a man.
Tying the knot or Minnukettu
Minnukettu is the small leaf shaped pendant made with gold. It includes 7 tiny beads joined together on the lead to get the form of a cross, the holy cross. Minnu will be out on the thread which is spun with around 21 threads taken from Manthrakodi or the wedding saree. There will be seven threads taken first and spun together and like this two more sets are spun together. Minnu is put on the thread and it will be tied around the bride’s neck by the groom on the wedding day. This knot is called the reef knot which is impossible to unknot. This represents the happening of the marriage. Seven days after the wedding day, the minnu will be put on the gold chain and is anticipated to be worn by the bride until the death. Wearing minnu represents that the woman has got married.