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Pithi/Nallangu Ceremony:

Master of ceremony 
Religious rituals
“ Samskaara “ is the Sanskrit term , meaning sacrament.
Purpose : to give a spiritual touch to the important events in life of an individual,
removing dhoshas ( defects & faults) & securing divine blessing.
Marriage : Vivaaham kalyaaNaan ; is the most important of all sacrament.
Explanation of the Pithi ceremony
Pithi : refers to a cleansing ceremony generally held  before the wedding, in
which the bride and groom are rubbed with tumeric paste in a
beautification process.
It is believed that tumeric softens and whitens the skin, so the purpose of
this ceremony is to help the bride and groom to be radiant for their
Family members and friends often times have fun getting the bride and
groom completely covered in the paste.
As a part of the pithi, family and friends also bless the couple with good
luck (by dabbing their forehead with saffron), shiny hair (by anointing them
with oil), prosperity (by giving money), abundance (by showering them
with rice), and sweetness (by feeding them sugar).
The bride and groom's ceremonies are traditionally held separately at their
respective homes.
What to do for the ceremony?
At your turn, greet the groom and congratulate him.
Then give him your blessings by doing any or all of the following:
1.    Feed him candy(To wish him sweetness in life.)
2.    Throw rice over him three times(To wish him abundance and
bounty of nature.)
3.    Give him an envelope with a few dollars in it(To wish him wealth
and prosperity)
4.    Rub oil on his hair(To wish him beauty and radiance on his
wedding day)
5.    Dot his forehead with saffron(To acknowledge the auspiciousness
of the occasion)
6.    Rub tumeric paste on his arms, neck or face(To give him a soft
and radiant skin on his wedding day).
7.    Touch your knuckles to either side of his head, then place them on
either side of your own forehead (To wish her good luck and dispel
any evil spirits around her)
Once everybody has finished offering their blessings, the groom, will
stand on his chair, and then step down, breaking a "sapatia", which is
a small clay pot containing lentils (symbolizing bounty of nature),
silver coins (symbolizing material wealth), sugar (symbolizing
sweetness and harmony), and turmeric (symbolizing good health). By
breaking the sapatia, he releases the gifts that it contains.
Explanation of the Nallangu ceremony
Sequence of events:
1.   Hole is dug in the ground
2.   Married ladies carry the kudam : The Ni rai Kudam is formed by placing
a coconut , surrounded by mango leaves , and a pot filled with water. The
pot represents the body, water the blood , coconut the head , and mango
leaves the hair.  Mango leaves are also used at the entrance of the house : as
it is thought to be able to purify the air and water.
3.   The Ni rai is then set in front of the place where the planting is to take
4.   Ampon ( a set of metals) is placed in the hole where the KalyaaNA
murngai branch is to be planted
5.   Three ladies then plant the branch.
6.   The KalyaaNa murungai planting : is to symbolize the laying of the
foundation for a long lasting & successful married life. The KalyaaNA
Murungai plant is capable of flourishing under adverse conditions. It
signifies the commencement of active ceremonial preparations for the grand
occasion , with the blessings of Lord Shiva & mother Paarvadhi.
7.   Once the KalyaaNA murungai is planted , a coconut is broken.  The
maternal uncle usually undertakes this ceremony. The breaking of the
coconut , is symbolically associated with a prayer to lord vinaayar & lord
Ganesha. The coconut also symbolizes the human ego. Thus it will take
quite an effort to break the hard shell as with the human ego. However once
the shell is broken , the sweet white kernal is exposed. Similarly in a person ,
once the ego is overcome : it will result in a flawless , enjoyable life both
materialistically & spiritually.
8.   Ladies then offer a prayer for the KalyaaNa Murungai.
9.   The plant is then serenaded with navathaaniyam, milk and flowers.
Kungguman is applied to the mid section of the branch.
10.                    Kumban water is poured and a prayer is offered , so that the
tree grows well.
11.                    A Gold chain is worn around the branch. Kuttuvilakku and
incense is lighted.
12.                    Arriyadham is fried and served to the guest, to mark a good