ThiruMangalya Pooja (Sumangali Pooja)

 

Acharams

All religious achara-anushtana-dharmas are formulated, developed and incorporated into our social system for maintaining and upholding the sadhachara principles (religious and cultural morality) of social living. The transmission of these principles works in the form of inheritance. With social and cultural diversities, geographical distances, rituals and customs vary accordingly. It is always locally said in India that “with every 15 kilometers culture in India varies”, this local saying points to the total dimensions and beautiful diversity of our rich culture.

 

The Blessing Ceremony

Thirumangalaya Pooja or Sumangali Pooja, which is carried out by Moothan Community as a part of pre-marriage function is one of the matchless marriage ritual in the social caste circles. In moothan marriages mangalya pooja is an indispensable ritual that is performed in the preceding week of the marriage function, mostly on Fridays – which is termed auspicious for worshipping the goddess. Usually, this is called the function of married women even though aged men group also take part in this blessing ceremony and offer their blessings and perform the pooja.

 

Social Importance

 

The importance of this function is that it works as a social bonding, augments and informally catalyze as a pre-marriage counseling for the girl and boy since all involved were married and experienced. Above all, the newly marrying girl and boy, is introduced into the importance of a new life filled with sadachara and its effect on well knitted social system. Both parties to the marriage attend the pooja function in both houses, this also adds to the strengthening of the bond, leads to better understanding of their social setups before the marriage function.

 

The Pooja Function

 

The pooja is carried out by the most elder women member (Karanavathy) of the tharavad (family system) and who is still in her married life. Our respect of womanhood reflects here and mostly women works as the motivating force behind all these marriage functions.

 

Functions At Bride ‘s House

 

Ganeshji’s Idol (normally, cowdung ball shaped – with Tulasi fixed on it is symbolized as Ganeshji’ idol (this form is called Pullayar or Pillayar in Tamil). (Cowdung is believed to be of much medicinal and holistic values from olden days and find lot of mentioning in Ayurveda ), fragrance of jasmine flower, special smelling herb pastes (Kasturi) which is used to apply in hair and body for good smell, turmeric, kumkum, sandal  and incense sticks fills the whole atmosphere of house, giving the house courtyard a temple like atmosphere.

 

The special wedding silk saree, the special ornaments used in the marriage function are kept for pooja. After the pooja initiation by the Karanavathi (elder women), all other including the bride will perform their offerings to the Lord Ganesha and Bagwathy.  In this occasion all elder women blesses the bride for her prolonged married life.

 

Functions At Bride-Groom's House

 

The pooja rituals are carried out in a same order in bride-Grooms residence also. Here, the gold Thirumangalyam and its chain, which is received as separate jewel items, are formed into a chain along with the cotton thread applied with turmeric paste. Men’s wedding day dhothi (mundu) and shirt are also kept for the pooja.

 

After the pooja function all married women are given kumkum and natural turmeric (root form) as prasadam. . To put in another way, we can see this function bless and honor both guest and the host for a prolonged married life. So this function delivers a total life-positive message to all involved, especially women, who is termed as the light of a Hindu-family system. One can see all these religiously tuned, holistic and spiritually connected functions add lot of celebrations and happiness among the folks.

 

Mangalya Pooja in Guptan Marriages

Guptan community also performs this function in its simplified styles. In valluvanad regions and among guptan to guptan marriages, the day begins with a Ganapathi Homam, by the Brahmin priest. Pooja is done to the thaali brought from the bride-groom’s side. After the pooja rituals by the priest four elder karanavar members(males) from both side will touch the thaali and  will bless the newly marrying couples in a sequence.

 

Here also only the life style reflects the version variations of our rituals within our community. Let us be proud about this unique function carried out by our community, uphold and preserve our unique ethnic features with out erosion which acts as a strong social binding force of our community.

 

Copyright

Gopakumar Radhakrishnan

Gop.personal@gmail.com