These are some of the pre-wedding practices and its significance:
Nishchayathram is an engagement ceremony which is held before a wedding, where the bride and groom exchanges gifts and sweets (seeru). At the end of the ceremony, some couple will exchange rings.
This ceremony is performed months before a wedding to officially announce to everyone that the bride and groom will be tying the knot and they are off the market. On this day, the priest will decide the auspicious time for the wedding ceremony.
A few days before the marriage, a bamboo pole is planted in front of the house after a prayer to the gods. The families will pray for a problem-free wedding ceremony.
There is also another reason for planting this pole at the house entrance. In days gone by, word of mouth was the only source of communication. So planting the pole ensured passers-by are notified about the wedding. Besides blessing the couple, the passerby also passed the good news to others.
Nalunggu is performed a day or for 3 days before the actual wedding, where married ladies will apply turmeric paste on the cheeks, hands, leg, and feet of the bride and groom, and bless them by applying kumkum in their forehead.
Nalunggu is a cleansing and purification ritual which is believed to prepare the couple, both physically and spiritually, for the marriage as they are set off into a new life. The turmeric paste also brightens the skin colour of the couple, and prevents them from getting any ailments.
Source: IndianWeddingsAtAGlance, Marriage.com and CulturalIndia
Image credit: Anudinam, TheGorgeousBride, DeepakVijayPhotography, Jeevan Wedding Arts and Youtube