When Periyar Style Weddings Began: A Historical Perspective – GERONA ...

When Periyar Style Weddings Began: A Historical Perspective

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The Early Days of Periyar Style Weddings

In the early 20th century, a social reform movement began to take shape in South India, challenging age-old traditions and norms. Spearheaded by E.V. Ramasamy, popularly known as Periyar, this movement aimed to transform the social, political, and cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu. One significant aspect of this movement was the introduction of Periyar style weddings.

The Ideology Behind Periyar Style Weddings

Periyar firmly believed in gender equality and fought against the oppressive practices prevalent in society. Traditional weddings were seen as perpetuating patriarchy, and he sought to change this by introducing a new format for weddings that challenged gender roles and promoted equality.

Periyar style weddings aimed to break away from the rigid conventions of traditional weddings, such as dowry system, caste hierarchy, and extravagant rituals. These weddings were based on the principles of simplicity, equality, and rationality.

The Evolution of Periyar Style Weddings

Initially, Periyar style weddings faced resistance from conservative sections of society. However, as the social reform movement gained momentum, more and more people began embracing this new way of getting married. The first Periyar style wedding took place in the 1920s, and since then, it has become increasingly popular among progressive individuals and couples.

In the early years, Periyar style weddings were simple affairs, devoid of ostentation. They involved a minimalistic approach, focusing on the union of two individuals rather than extravagant rituals. The emphasis was on gender equality, with both the bride and groom being treated as equals and actively participating in the wedding ceremony.

A Key Catalyst: The Self-Respect Movement

The Self-Respect Movement, another brainchild of Periyar, played a crucial role in popularizing Periyar style weddings. This movement aimed to instill self-respect and dignity among marginalized communities and challenged the existing social order. Periyar style weddings became an integral part of this movement, symbolizing the rejection of oppressive customs and the embrace of progressive values.

Influence and Spread

Over time, Periyar style weddings transcended geographical boundaries and became a symbol of resistance against patriarchal norms. They gained popularity not only in Tamil Nadu but also in other parts of South India. People from various backgrounds and communities began opting for Periyar style weddings, attracted by the principles of equality and rationality they represented.

Modern Periyar Style Weddings

In the present day, Periyar style weddings have evolved further to reflect changing societal norms and preferences. While the core values of equality and simplicity remain intact, modern Periyar style weddings incorporate elements of personalization and individual choice.

Couples today have the freedom to customize their weddings according to their preferences, while still adhering to the principles of Periyar style. This flexibility allows for a unique and meaningful celebration of love, free from oppressive traditions.

The Legacy of Periyar Style Weddings

The introduction of Periyar style weddings marked a significant turning point in the history of South Indian weddings. They challenged and continue to challenge the patriarchal structures deeply rooted in society. Periyar’s vision for gender equality and rationality in weddings has left a lasting impact, inspiring countless couples to choose a path that aligns with their progressive values.


Periyar style weddings began in the early 20th century as a part of the larger social reform movement. They aimed to break away from oppressive customs and promote gender equality. Over time, these weddings gained popularity and spread across South India, becoming a symbol of resistance against patriarchal norms. Today, modern Periyar style weddings continue to evolve, allowing couples to celebrate their love while staying true to the principles of equality and rationality.

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