The Ezhavas form the largest group among Hindu communities in Kerala. They are also one of the major communities of the state. Ezhavas are considered to be descendants of Villavar; the founders of ancient Dravidian Chera Dynasty, who once ruled parts of southern India. In Malabar they are called Thiyya, while in Tulu Nadu they are known as Billavas. They were formerly known as ‘Ilavar’. There were Ayurveda Vaidyars, Warriors, Kalari Trainers, Soldiers, Farmers, Cultivators, Siddha Physicians, and Traders. Some were also involved in texile manufacturing, liquor business and toddy tapping.
Ezhavas are the descendants of Villavars founders of Chera Dynasty. The word ‘Ilavar'(Ezhava/ Ezhavar) is derived from Villavar. Villavars of Travancore were known as ‘Ilavar'(now known as Ezhava). Villavar were also known as Ezhinar or Eyinars in Chera (present day Kerala) and Tamil countries respectively
Considered industrious, this community of traditional toddy-tappers have made rapid strides economically and socially. Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr. V S Achuthanandan, for instance, is an Ezhava while his bitter political rival Communist Party of India-Marxist state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan is a Thiyya.
Ezhava matrimony is a simple ceremony and consists of the following traditions and customs. Ezhava Matrimony is one of the shortest of all Hindu weddings.
1. Vivaha Nischayam
2. Ayana: Pre-nuptial blessing of the bride
3. Namaskaram: Blessing of bride and groom
4. Kalyanam or Vivaaham: Wedding ceremony
5. Reception: Post wedding ceremony