The samba spirit combined with the tradition of Thiruvathirakali at a unique Malayali- Brazilian wedding

We, in Kerala, have so many things in common with Brazil, like football, tapioca and rubber. And now, there is one more happy link.

Kalyani Nair, a lawyer, based there and Mauricio Leanza Nagy, a financial consultant, a Brazilian, were married in the bride's country, in India, in Kerala, in Kochi last week. To join in their happiness, 46 Brazilians, relatives and friends of the bridegroom, had flown in to Ramada Resort, by the backwaters, for a truly Nair wedding. Another reason why India is in vogue in Brazil is a popular serial on TV there. Telecast daily, ‘Passage to India, Caminho das Indias in Portuguese, has made India a hot favourite.

Traditional attire

The Brazilians all wore Indian attire, with some of them looking very Keralite, with their kasavu mundus pulled up, a la village folks. The women carried their saris with aplomb, despite being new to the garment. The ambience was very Indian, with the wedding conducted by the Nair Service Society Karayogam officials at Edappally.

Kalyani, daughter of Jani Nayar, who hails from Edappally, Kochi says, “Although we did have a marriage in Brazil, I wanted to get married in the traditional style in Kerala as I wanted my family to participate in the wedding.”

On the wedding eve, Kalyani's aunt Parvathy Nair, who teaches Thiruvathirakali, turned it into a cultural extravaganza for the visitors. Young women did the Thiruvathirakali and Kalyani's cousins drew intricate henna patterns on Kalyani's hands as part of the mehndi ceremony.

In true Kerala tradition, Kalyani touched the feet of elders, a new experience for her Brazilian friends. The dakshinas were given to elders.

As her friends and groom watched wide eyed, Kalyani touched the feet of her elders in a traditional dakshina and then it was time to party. They danced to the latest Bollywood, Mollywood and Kollywood numbers. ‘Taj Mahal,' which originally appeared in 1972 in the ‘Ben' album, sung by Brazilian singer Jorge Ben Jor , brought all the Brazilians to the dance floor.

The next evening, for the wedding ceremony, all the women in the group wore saris, complete with bindi and Indian jewellery while the men wore mundu and kurtas.

Jani had requested all the women members of her family to come dressed in mundu-neriyathu or Kerala saris. An emotional Mauricio wept saying he had never seen anything so beautiful and touching. “This was the best experience in my life. It was all that I had expected and more.”

Very special

Dr. Claudio Mello, looking dainty in a sari, relished it all. Of the 10 best things in her life, this experience was one, she gushed. Agreeing with her Selma Drago and Lousia Cavil say they are thankful for having been included in the special ceremony.

“For most of the Brazilians, it was their first trip to India. They had reached Delhi first and shopped for the wedding. Since all of them could not buy saris, we lent them some of ours,” says Parvathy Nair.

Rodrigo Pasquali and Daniel Jacob were so charmed by the rituals and the traditions that they declared that would like to marry Indians.

After the wedding and holiday, the couple is looking forward to life in Brazil with the Indian experience fresh in their hears.