Thursday, September 03, 2015


This Legend of Ponnivala video clip covers some details already discussed in my previous blog post, notably the farmers’ ready acceptance of the mandate their creatrix, Parvati, gave them. She orders that they make sure the land “prospers.” They agree to this request. We also learn from the lead farmer (in red pants) that he knows he is the eldest of the group of nine. He will subsequently address all the other eight as “my brothers.” Furthermore, the goddess orders these men to take their wives from Vallavandi, an area not far away that is already being farmed. 

Establishing strong families is the key theme here. The goddess wants to assure this and so weddings are in order. Nonetheless, the bride-groom ceremony itself is kept to a bare minimum. The description provided is extremely simple. The ritual consists solely of an exchange of flower garlands and nothing else. These are early times and (by implication) this region does not yet know of Brahman ritual providers and long, formal wedding rites. That will come later. Such “life cycle” rituals will only gain detail and centrality, gradually. Indeed, these social rituals will not receive a lot of emphasis until the story reaches the third generation. There we will see for the first time the joint weddings of twin grandsons. At that point their matrimonial rites will require a Brahman present. And as well, by this time, key nuptial events also be become tense occasions fraught with complex undertones. Right now, however, the hero’s wedding is just a simple, loving and easily executed mutual exchange of flowers.

It is interesting to note, as well, that we see here that a woman is the first to place a garland around the neck of her husband-to-be. He then responds by garlanding her! This order of events implies a time when women were allowed more initiative. Perhaps they were even the primary actors in finding or selecting their mates, at least as the bard describes an “early” wedding event. There are no dowry issues here and absolutely no family “politics” are involved. Still, we do see that a key primogeniture rule is already in place. The eldest son is the sibling who marries first! He will also frequently speak for his eight younger brothers while they remain silent, We will see that in various clips still to come.

Signing off for now,
Blogger” Brenda Beck

The Sophia Hilton Foundation of Canada

Have you experienced The Legend of Ponnivala on TV or in print? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

To find out more about The Legend of Ponnivala -- the legend, the series, the books, and the fascinating history behind the project, visit

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