Ammi Midhitthal starts with the bride being taken to the north side of the sacred fire (Agni). Holding on to the bride’s right toe, the bridegroom helps her tread on the ammi (grindstone, in tamil). The hymns for this section state: “Mount up this stone. Let your mind be rock firm, unperturbed by the trails and tribulations of life.” At this point, the groom slips a toe-ring (metti in tamil) on her right foot and then her left foot. This ritual is said to have multiple significances. One being that touching the bride’s feet, brings humility to the groom. The traditional significance of the metti is also that it was the only visible jewelry indicating her marital status (her thali is usually hidden behind her clothing). At times, the bride plays around making it a little difficult for the groom to take hold and slip the ring on her toe. Today, ironically, the toe-ring is as much a fashion accessory for unmarried girls/women as any other item of jewelry. Times change, but the significance behind the rituals stay intact.
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