Mock marriage to help real marriage in Orissa

November 14th, 2007 - 2:53 am ICT by admin  
Shampur (Orissa), Oct. 26 (ANI): Villagers of Shampur near Bhubaneshvar, the capital of Orissa, celebrate a festival when girls participate in a mock marriage ceremony with the hope that it would help them find a good match.

The festival is known as Kumar Purnima, when the unmarried girls dress themselves as brides and grooms and participate in the marriage procession. Later they go through rituals similar to a marriage.

“I am happy wearing bridal dress. They dressed me with a new saree and jewellery.” said Subhasmita Behera.

“They put headgear on my head and dressed me as groom. I am happy wearing this attire,” said Sasmita, disguised as a bridegroom.

The marriage procession goes to the ‘girls’ house’.

The marriage is solemnised in the traditional way and guests from 10 neighbouring villages attend the function. They also participate in a ‘feast’, which is real and as sumptuous as in a real marriage ceremony.

Parents of the bride do not shed any tears because the symbolic marriage lasts one day. Both — the bride and groom - return to their respective homes on conclusion of the ceremony.

A Kumari (or, virgin) priest solemnises the ceremony assisted by a male priest.

One difference is that both the ‘bride’ and the ‘groom’ are girls.

The local belief is that if unmarried girls go through all the marriage rituals on the auspicious occasion of Kumar Purnima, they would be blessed with a handsome groom within a year.

“This is the tradition. We believe that if unmarried girls participate in this ceremony, they will be married soon and even get a handsome groom. It is organised on Shukla Paksh Purnima of Dusshera month in the Ashwin month as per Hindu calendar,” informed Manjulata Sahoo, a local.

The parents of the girls bear the marriage expenses. The day after the ‘marriage’, the girls worship Tulsi plant

If the girls are really married during the next few months, the credit goes to the ceremony, and the belief travels round Orissa. (ANI)

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