Manthrakodi and Minnu Defined
What is the Manthrakodi?
Manthrakodi (mun-thra-ko-dee)is derived from the words “Manthra” meaning blessed and “Kodi” which means new clothes. Put these two together and the literal meaning is blessed new cloth.
In most Kerala/Malayalee Christian traditions, the Manthrakodi is a saree (usually an intricate saree with gold and silver threads) that is bought by the groom’s family for the bride. In most traditions, the Manthrakodi is presented to the bride after the tying of the Minnu.
What is the Minnu?
The Minnu (or thali) is a gold leaf or heart-shaped pendant that is presented as the first gift the groom gives the bride in South Indian traditions. In the Christian tradition, the Minnu represents the Holy Spirit through “tongues of fire” and usually includes beads in the shape of a cross.
The Minnu pendant hangs on a thread made from 21 threads taken from the Manthrakodi. The 21 threads are intertwined into seven sets of three threads each. The process of entwining the threads is normally done by the brother-in-law or other male from the groom’s side. The threads are dipped in rice water and sometimes rubbed with wax to make them more rigid.
The Minnu is tied around the bride’s neck with a unique knot called the “minnukettu” (literally tying the knot!). This knot symbolizes the inseparable bond between the bride and groom.
The Presentation and Use of the Manthrakodi
After the tying of the minnu, the Manthrakodi is put over the bride’s head with the help of the priest and a female member of the groom’s family. This signifies the veil of Rebecca (Genesis 24). The female member then stands by the bride to signify her acceptance into the new family.
The bride leaves the ceremony with the Manthrakodi draped on her arm. It is then worn during the wedding reception, and traditionally during wedding anniversaries and other important family occasions like the baptism of children.