Villagers perform tree ‘wedding’ to send green message

June 15th, 2008 - 5:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Puri, June 15 (IANS) The pomp and splendour was all there when the bride and groom tied the nuptial knot in a village in Orissa - not a marriage of human beings but of two trees in a gesture aimed at preserving the green cover. Villagers performed this unusual ‘marriage’ at Jimiti in the coastal district of Puri, some 60 km from here, in the hope that the gods will help them to preserve all trees in their locality.

The village committee members consulted a priest who decided that Tuesday (June 10) was an auspicious day for the wedding as per the Oriya almanac.

The villagers who contributed for the celebration split up into two groups with women representing the bride, or the peepal tree, and the men, the banyan tree.

The wedding was performed at a Shiva temple amid chanting of Sanskrit mantras by a priest and attended by over 100 residents.

According to Oriya folklore, the ‘marriage’ of a banyan and peepal tree is one way of pleasing the gods.

Nabin Rout, a 54-year-old villager, said they organized the marriage to create awareness among the people to conserve trees.

“Our village was covered with hundreds of trees four decades ago. But the green areas have been shrinking year by year and if we do not protect them it will disappear in a few years,” he said.

The villagers performed all the rituals of a Hindu marriage followed by a feast for all.

While the timber mafia has been eyeing the big trees, the villagers have showed their resolve not to allow anyone to cut trees in the area.

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