Deepavali is especially special if it is "Thalai Deepavali"- the first one after the wedding. Newly weds are pampered by family members and showered with gifts. The newly-wed are invited for the first Deepavali and are provided 'Seer,' a part of the dowry, as per the custom. During the first year after marriage, the girls are also given 'Thalai Karthikai' as a gift. The celebrations include a visit to the temple, gifts of clothes and jewelery, gorging on sweets and receiving blessings of elders. The groom's parents, brothers and sisters come down to join in the celebrations.
Among the usual Diwali customs and rituals, is the extra special, once-in-a-life event: The first Diwali after marriage. In Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated as Thalai Deepavali. During Thalai Deepavali, the newly weds go to the bride's parental home for revelry. The day starts very early, around 3.30 - 4 in the morning, with the ritual of the early morning oil bath. The music of Nadaswaram and Mrudangam floats on the fresh morning air. After the bath the bride and groom accept their new clothes, kept at the feet of God and also the Lehiyam (a form of medicine). Taking blessings from the elders, they burst the first crackers of the day. Usually a vast range of crackers is bought, with costs running into thousands of rupees.
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