Manthrakodi – A significant symbol of a new beginning

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Christians in Kerala have a very distinct culture of their own which are duly reflected in their weddings and other rituals. The Syrian Christians in particular who follow the teachings of St Thomas (one of the original 12 disciples of Christ) have wedding customs, which have also been influenced to a very large extent, by both Hindu and Jewish customs. 


One such ritual which is quite unusual is the presentation of the ‘Manthrakodi’ to a bride during the wedding ceremony itself. Simply put, ‘manthra’ means blessed and the word ‘kodi’ means new clothes. Manthrakodis are specially bought by the groom’s family and are richly embroidered with both gold and silver threads. 21 threads carefully taken from this manthrakodi are entwined in seven sets, each containing only 3 threads and it is these threads that are tied around the bride’s neck as a ‘thali’. The ‘thali maala’ which is also an important aspect of Hindu weddings, signifies that both the bride and groom are now formally a couple. While the prayers are being recited, the manthrakodi is then placed on the head of the bride. This act symbolizes the care or love that the groom promises to give his bride once they start living together and also signifies that the full responsibility of providing for her now rests with him.

thali 2


The Manthrakodi is worn by the bride after the wedding ceremony as well as for other important family functions over the next few months. According to custom, every bride keeps her manthrakodi carefully as this is the first present or garment that her ‘new’ family gifts her.  



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