Metti, also known as ‘Metti poduthal’, is an important ritual that takes place during the South Indian wedding ceremony. It is a ritual that is performed by the groom, and it involves the wearing of a toe ring or ‘Metti’ on the bride’s second toe of both feet. The Metti is made of either silver or gold and is an integral part of the bridal jewelry.
Informant: AA is a 50-year-old woman born in India and living in London, UK for the last 25 years. She is my aunt. She is a General Physician practicing in London.
Interviewer: What happens during this ritual?
AA: During the Metti ritual, the groom ties the toe ring on the bride’s second toe of both feet. The groom’s sisters or female relatives also participate in the ritual by placing kumkum or vermillion powder on the bride’s feet.
Interviewer: What is the significance of this ritual?
AA: This ritual symbolizes the acceptance of the bride into the groom’s family and the groom’s commitment to protect and take care of the bride.
Interviewer: Are there any beliefs that metti has impacts on physical health?
AA: The toe ring is usually made of silver or gold, which is known for its healing and purifying properties. These properties are believed to be absorbed by the body through the toes, which are considered to be the nerve endings of the body.
Interviewer: Are there any beliefs that metti has impacts on women’s reproductive health?
AA: By tying the Metti, the groom is believed to be invoking the blessings of the divine mother and seeking her protection for the bride’s reproductive health.
Interviewer: How do you know all these?
AA: I have done this ritual during my wedding. Also, over the years, within our friends and family circle, I have attended more than 25 such rituals and learned this from elders, parents, and priests.
The Metti has cultural and social significance. In many South Indian communities, the Metti is considered to be a symbol of a married woman. The Metti is also considered to be a symbol of love and commitment between the husband and wife. It is believed in Indian tradition, that the second toe of the feet corresponds to the uterus and ovaries in women. The significance of Metti lies in its association with the well-being of the bride’s reproductive health. It is believed that the Metti helps regulate the menstrual cycle and prevent certain reproductive disorders.