We Indians have a rich cultural tradition built over thousands of years. We were considered one of the most advanced, erudite societies across the world. Every ritual had a meaning, an origin or a scientific rationale. As the dust of the ages settled on them, they lost meaning or were lost in translation. The result? We are left with a bunch of bizarre and weird marriage rituals whose meaning no one seems to know or understand. They are followed to the T with a blind faith that is unnerving.
Here is a list of 6 marriage related rituals that had us spinning!
1.Young Woman marrying a Dog: Mangli Munda, a young Indian 18-year-old girl from Jharkhand decided to marry a stray dog (named “Sheru”). The ceremony was organized by the village elders to ward off the bad luck she might face in her life.
She was believed to be cursed and marrying a man first would bring destruction to her family as well as the community she belongs to. She said “After this ceremony is done, the man I will marry will have a long life.”
2. Man marrying a bitch: Selva Kumar married a female dog (Selvi) because he believed that he was cursed for stoning two other dogs to death. He says that he has been suffering since he stoned two dogs to death and hung their bodies from a tree 15 years ago.
His hands and legs got paralyzed and he lost hearing in one ear all because of the curse, and according to him, the evil curse could only be removed if he married a dog.
3. Marrying Peepal Tree or a clay pot: This is also a common custom practiced in India and even actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan also went through this practice before getting married to Abhishek Bachchan. According to some Hindu communities, a woman should marry a Peepal or Banana tree before she ties the knot with her fiancé in order to offset the evil influence of Manglik dosh. This is in cases where the bride possesses the Manglik dosh while the groom is a non-manglik.
The same effect can apparently be achieved by marrying a clay pot and then breaking it after the ritual is completed. The clay pot is also used as a placeholder where the groom has not yet arrived and the Muhurtham (auspicious time) is passing.
4.Frog Marriages: In the hot summer months when people need the monsoon rains the most, this ritual is performed in order to urge the rain god to shower the parched earth.
The wedding of frogs is to show that the frogs come out during the rainy season and welcome lord Indra with their croaking. The croaking of the frogs is symbolic of the formal start to the monsoon showers.
5. Leaving it to a fowl: Among the Angamis (a Nagaland tribe), a young man having chosen his potential mate, tells his father, who then sends a friend to determine the wishes of the girl’s parents. If they express conditional approval, the bridegroom’s father tests the proposal by strangling a fowl and watching the way in which it crosses its legs when dying. If the legs are placed in an inauspicious manner, the match is immediately ended. Otherwise, the girl is informed of the favorable progress of negotiations. At this stage, she can veto the whole relationship if she has an inauspicious dream in the next three days. If nothing of that sort happens, the wedding day is fixed.
Similarly, the Mongsen tribe practice a strange ritual after the engagement. They boy and the girl are sent on a trading journey for twenty days. If the travels result in gains, then the marriage is confirmed, and if a loss is made, then the engagement is broken off as it is considered inauspicious.
6.Marrying a snake: One Indian lady from Atala village of Orissa’s Khurda district fell in love with a snake and then married the snake in accordance with Hindu marriage rituals.
She, along with her community, believed that this act would bring good luck, and happiness would be showered by the Snake God. More than 2000 people participated in this celebration where the lady married the snake, and during the reception, a brass model of the snake was kept so that the guests could feel comfortable.