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Two-year-old Indian 'marries dog'

By Sanjaya Jena in Orissa

Marriage in Orissa. Photo by Rabindra Samal f
The marriage ceremony was to ease a bad omen

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 on Monday.

The "groom", Sagula Munda, was taken to the house of the dog, called Jyoti, in a highly decorated rickshaw and priests solemnised 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.

Tribal deity

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.

Map

The boy's father, Sanrumula Munda, said of the wedding: "Tribals not only in this state but also in neighbouring 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 neighbours.

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".

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