Nayars are not vegetarians by religion or compulsion. However, on auspicious or festive occasions only vegetarian food is served, preferably cooked by Brahmins.
They also have some shared characteristics with the ancient Naga people or Scythians. The Nagas worshipped the Naga, the serpent deity of the underworld and took their name from this cult. The Nayars have also preserved the serpent cult till today.
Every Nayar tarawad has a clump of bushes before which a lamp is lit every evening and some milk placed as an offering to the snake deity. Next morning, if it is seen that the offering has been accepted, there is satisfaction. If for some reason the forked tongued creature has ignored the milk, there is general gloom and introspection. The belief is that the snakes belonging to the shrine of a tarawad are protectors of the family and will not bite anyone.
Other celebrations in a Nayar family are those marking the important stage in the life of the daughter of the house such as when she attains puberty and when she or a number of girls of the clan have a 'mock' marriage. Their real marriage being a simple affair with no feast, ritual or pomp, here she has all she could wish for from a real wedding.