Thursday, February 19, 2009
A two-year-old boy has been married to a dog in eastern India to ward off evil spirits and bad luck
The marriage took place in a village in Jajpur district. The groom, Sagula Munda, was taken to the house of the dog, called Jyoti, in a highly decorated rickshaw and priests solemnized the ceremony. The boy's father said such marriages were a tradition and would help ease the bad omen of the tooth rooted in Sagula's upper gum. The marriage was in the tribal-dominated Patarpur village. Like in every Hindu marriage, the priests chanted Sankrit prayers and hymns and there was an accompanying feast. The boy's father, Sanrumula Munda, said of the wedding: "Tribals not only in this state but also in neighboring Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, observe such practices to keep the evil spirits away." Arranging marriages with dogs kept children protected from ghosts and bad luck, he said. The parents of Sagula and other local people consider the biological tooth defect a bad omen both for the family and neighbors. The bride's father, Parakrama Munda, said: "This is just a ceremony to please the tribal deity - in the great epic Mahabharat a dog helped the Pandavas reach heaven." He said it was a superstition, like wearing a stone or a talisman. One attending resident, Dushmant Rout, said the bride had spent a few hours at the groom's house "but not inside the room... she stayed on the verandah".