The “Thala deepavali” is the unique custom native to Tamil nadu. The first deepavali celebrated by the couple after the marriage is called the “Thala Deepavali”. Here the Tamil word “Thala” may be roughly translated as “the Head or The First “, bringing out meaning and the importance of “Thala Deepavali” in Tamilnadu. It is the most revered custom in the Tamil communities.
In Tamil Nadu, The deepavali festival is celebrated in the “Naraka Chaturdasi” thithi of Tamil month of Aipasi (Thula month) preceding the Amavasai (New Moon Day). On the occasion of Thala Deepavali the bridegroom along with the bride visits his in-laws home.
The day before, the house is cleaned, decorated with Ranjoli Kolams coloured with red oxide mixture called Kaavi, the sweets such as Muruku, Adrasam, Seedai, Tattai, Gulab Jamoons, etc are prepared, the new dresses and jewelries for the Bridegroom and bride are purchased. On the day of the Thala Deepavali, couple arise even before the sunrise and take Oil bath using the sandalwood paste and Segakai paste.
After the bath, The bride and the bridegroom attend the pooja organized by the Bride’s parents. In the pooja room, flowers, betel leaves, betel nuts, bananas, sandal paste, gingely oil, turmeric powder, kumkum powder, crackers, and new dresses are placed before the god. The bride’s parents along with bride and bridegroom prayer for the couple happy long life and present them with the new dresses and ornaments. The newly married couple after wearing the new dresses (Bride is silk saree and Bridegroom in silk waisty ) seek the blessings by gently touching the feets of the bride’s parents. The bride’s parents prepare blood colour liquid by mixing kumkum with oil, and then they place it in white pumkin, a champhor is placed on it. The parents light the champhor and rotate the pumkin around the heads of the newly married couple and then the pumkin is broken, the mixture is applied on foreheads of the couple as tilaks. Then the couple will be given a “Laygiyam” (A medicinal preparation). The pumkin represents the demons kings head and kumkum oil mixture represents the blood of the demon. It is belived that by breaking the pumpkin is similar to that of the Lord Krishnan breaking and smashing the evil demon’s head. The victory of good over evil.
The newly weds will then be pampered and showered by bride’s family members with gifts called “Seer varisai”, It is considered as a part of the dowry, according to the Tamil custom. The couples then visit the nearby temple, sometimes the groom’s parents, brothers and sisters also join them in the celebration. After couple return from the temple they will be given a great feast by the Bride’s parents and if the bride’s are of well to do family, they present their son in law with a new motorcycle, car or even house. The sweets are then distributed and consumed generously. In the evening of the celebration, the couples burst crackers and enjoy the aerial fireworks along with their family members and decorated inside and outside the home with row of lighted diyas called “Agal vilakku” in Tamil.
The newly wedded couples of Tamil Nadu enjoy the Thala deepavali with high level enthusiasm as it is considered as once in a lifetime event. The young couples spend their quality time with their in laws on the occasion of the Thala deeapavali and it serve an opportunity for the bride’s parents to know his son in law better.