May 22nd, 2007


Paruppu Thengaai

This is one part of a south Indian (well, yes, TamBram..) wedding that I have never been able to get any satisfactory explanations for.

At every wedding, two conical structures called "Paruppu Thengai" (phonetically, paruppu thEngAy) are put on display. These are metal cones which are stuffed up with different types of sweet items...manOharam or sweet thEnkuzhal, or boonthi lAdoo...or even peanut candy...nowadays, they are well-decorated too, instead of the old simple gold-paper with flower-strands wound around the top. It is put on the stage by the bride's family and traditionally the contents are broken up by the groom's family and distributed and eaten. The metal cases in which these sweets are made is called "Paruppu Thengai Koodu."

Here is one set of Paruppu Thengai from the same wedding where the Marapaachi dolls were displayed:

Paruppu thEngAi...

Here the conical Paruppu Thengai seems to form part of a set, along with a kalasham (a kalasham was a brass or mud pot filled with auspicious things like rice and lentils, with mango leaves at its mouth on which is set a coconut, and used to represent a god or a goddess during the that too is stylized; you can see the "coconut" sitting on top of the pointy "mango leaves"), a plate and a little box (a jewellery box?)...everything is beautifully decorated with mirror work and set on a mirror-work tray.

I still cannot understand how the custom of Paruppu Thengai came about, and what the significance of the conical shape is. Still looking for enlightenment...

I do know that in the days of the fat Tamil movie heroines who had very pointed bosoms apparently growing right from their shoulder blades, we used to wink and refer to bras as Paruppu Thengai Koodus...