Customs
Material
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Tamil Wedding Gifts

Informant: My friend’s family is from southern India, and every few years they go back in the summer for family weddings. This past summer she went to three, and recounted some of the traditions for me.
Original Piece: “Wedding traditions… there’s so many. This is very specific to Christian Tamil weddings. Bride and grooms families, they exchange fruits. And you give fruits because it’s a symbol of plenty… like having a lot, you know? Like fruitfulness, you know? It’s like a blessing. There’s a lot that has to do with food in all the traditions. Because it’s a symbol of plenty.
The bride’s family buys the groom a gold chain. Why do they do this…. it’s the first gift to give. Gold is a very big part of Indian culture and tradition, because it doesn’t lose value. So giving it to people in different life phases is very important, so it’s the first gift they give to the son-in-law. And they put it on during the wedding ceremony. The groom’s family buys the girl gold bangles and puts in on during the ceremony as well.”
Context of Piece: My friend was showing me pictures from this summer, and I asked her to tell me a bit more about their weddings customs.
Thoughts about the Piece: I really like this piece, and learning about the tradition of gifts in the culture. Rather than toasters or pots and pans, they get food and gold, all symbolic for the marriage.

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