The Kodava Samaj of Ponnampet in Karnataka's Kodagu district has banned cake cutting and champagne sharing by newly-wed couples of the Kodava community during weddings at community marriage halls. Chotakmada Rajiv Bopaiah, the President of Ponnampet Kodava Samaj, told IANS that the ban on champagne sharing and cake cutting during weddings has been imposed to protect the Kodava culture, which is at stake.
"Kodavas have their own distinct culture. We can survive only if our culture survives. Cutting cakes and sharing of champagne by new couples during marriage ceremonies is not our culture. The decision has been taken in this regard in our annual meeting," he said. "Ever since the decision was taken, I have been flooded with congratulatory phone calls and messages. We have to pass on our culture to the next generation. Champaign celebration won't serve the purpose, rather it will misguide the younger generations," he said.
The meeting also took the decision not to allow bridegrooms to attend marriages sporting a beard. "Sporting beard is against the tradition of Kodavas. There is a ritual in which the beard will be taken off. Likewise, the women can't come on stage with their hair let loose, which is against our tradition. The meeting has discussed the issue and we are planning to implement it in the coming days," he revealed.
When asked how the younger generations of the Kodava community reacted to the ban, Rajiv said they are supporting the move and many organisations have also come forward to create awareness on the matter.
"The problem seems to be with people who are in their 50s. They encourage cake cutting and champagne sharing during marriages," he added.
Anil Biddadanda Nachappa, a film producer, said the steps are necessary to protect the distinct Kodava culture, which he says is under threat.
"There are a number of Kodava rituals like dancing etc. which should be given importance. Some European countries have banned Halaal and Kosher to protect their indigenous culture. This is also a similar step," he said. Known as a warrior community, Kodavas are predominantly based in Karnataka's Kodagu district.
Late Field Marshal KM Cariappa, the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, and late General KS Thimayya hailed from the Kodava community. Actor Rashmika Mandanna also belongs to the Kodava community.