ThiruMangalyam, the special marriage jewellery, is considered as very sacred in India.
Thaali is known in various names in India, ThiruMangalyam in Tamil, Mangalyam , Mangalya Sutram in Malayalam and Mangal Sutr in Hindi. In Hindu marriage ceremony, knotting this special marriage jewelry is the center point of attraction. Thaali is treated as a very sacred and it symbolizes life and strong family bonding. Towards south India, the thaali is more sentimentally preserved, divinely respected and cherished by all married women through out their life. Entering into a marriage relationship and sacredly preserving that bond till the end of life is one of the unique specialties of Indian family system. This thaali worn by Indian women is discarded only at the demise of their husband according to various caste rules. We all know, Indian family system is one of the much admired one through out the world from the historic times itself. Now, this specialty of Indian family system generates much envy to any foreigner who really wishes to look upon for a strong family bonding. Thinking about this specialty, they merge always in wonder.
In our land of cultural diversity and endless caste systems, this special jewelry has its design in various shapes, size and carrying various symbolic meanings strictly inheriting from the past.
When it comes to marriages and cultures our community is one of the rigid one that tries to preserves its meaning without eroding with changes in the social values. From centuries we have preserved our symbols to its base forms, which may slightly vary with the workmen’s craft but the basic meaning remains the same.
Shape Meanings – Comparisions
In kerala thaali is generally classified into two shapes Aalila Thaali(Banyan Tree Leaf Shape) and Aamma Thaali(Tortoise Shaped).
Speciality Of Our Thirumangalyam Shape
1. Our community Thirumangalyam symbol represents the Tortoise shape.
Why Tortoise shape?
Tortoises generally have life spans comparable with those of human beings, and some of them are known to have lived longer than 150 years. Because of this, they symbolize longevity in some cultures, such as china and India. Esmeralda, the worlds oldest living giant tortoise has the longest ever measured life-span of 255 years (birth year 1750).
Symbolism is one of the strong features in Indian culture. In India, every religious symbols are inbuilt with or will be hiding many symbolic meanings. It is believed that our Tortoise shaped thaali give the longevity of the women wearing it (Deergha Sumangali – A women who will be having a long married life) there by indirectly actuates the longevity of her husband. It has to be noted that this jewelry is always gifted by men to women on the wedding.
2. Tortoise is the Second Reptile in 10 Avtar Shapes of Mahavishnu (Kurma- Tortoise)
3. Trisulam of Shiva
When our Thaali is kept vertical it symbolizes Shivas Trisulam(The Three Stems Pointing Up), The Damaru (Drum) (The hole for passing the rope, and Chandrakala( Eclipsed Moon Shape) towards the down and the balls shapes over the represets the rudrakahas. This symbols strongly supports our shaivaite (One who preach lord shiva) beliefs and philosophies we follows.
In the guptan thaali we can see the Chandrakala is designed at the back side.
The Size Factor Of Thaali
Ref: In the book 'From bazaar economy to industrial economy - Thurston"
1972-73 , 5,500 moothans distributed in 731 households, of these 451 households are settled in same ward seperated from other castes and communities.There are 48 jewellery shops in palaghat town and 36 of these are owned by moothans(chacko 1983), 164 vegetable shopkeepers, which incudes wholesale , retail and hawkers , 77.4 percet are moothans and 15.9 % muslims and rest belong to 5 other groups.
As it is evident from the below photographs, the size of the thaali symbol towards palakkad(moothans) side seems a little bigger. Also the special golden chain (called kayattu piri (inter-twined cotton yellow thread form) )threads, which is used to hung the thaali is also much thicker when compared to the size of guptans(moothans) of valluvanudu region. It is to be noted that still in our marriages an yellow thread applied with turmeric powder, is used along with golden chain during the marriage, which is truly of tamil origin. This thread is removed and the golden chain is used later. It is a well know fact that still today moothans preserve their traditionally old customs as acharams as is the case with Thaali Styles. This passion towards the cuture leads to many old roots ,which we may further excavate in the form of as researches.
It is a known fact that Guptans of valluvanadu region are not much fond of gold and golden jewellery usages as seen evident among the moothans of palakkad region who are traditional jewellers (please see the reference above by (Chacko)). The size of thaali find its smaller size and the thread(chain) find its thinner shapes towards valluvanad regions. This may be due to their Occupational,(majority being tradional farmers till few years back),financial and cultural differences due to geographical difference and social setups. As seen from the available old photographs of moothans, the size of thaali is maintained almost same in palakkad town region. (Please note the inter-twisted style of golden thread used in the moothan's thaali)