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Seeking rain, villagers perform wedding for donkeys

M.K. Ananth
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tied to belief:Villagers of Kozhikalnahtham near Tiruchengode in Namakkal district performing the wedding for donkeys on Monday.
tied to belief:Villagers of Kozhikalnahtham near Tiruchengode in Namakkal district performing the wedding for donkeys on Monday.

More than 200 villagers of Kozhikalnahtham, 45 km from Namakkal Town on the Tiruchengode to Salem Road, eagerly attended the gala wedding of the groom ‘Sirhari’ with the bride ‘Yogalakshmi’, on Monday.

All the usual rituals were performed as it would be for a normal one, but the only difference was that ‘Sirhari’ and ‘Yogalakshmi’ were not humans.

The grand wedding for donkeys was jointly organised by the people of all communities in the village by pooling in their money to pray to the rain god to bring showers to the village that is suffering from severe drought.

“There was very poor rainfall for four years and almost no rain in 2012 forcing us to struggle to get water for drinking and other purposes,” says Manickam, main organiser of the event.

He said that performing wedding for donkeys is a practice for centuries to bring rain to a place where there is no prosperity due to poor rainfall. Wedding invitations were printed and distributed. Flex banners were also put up in important places in Tiruchengode, inviting everyone who is interested to participate in it.

“I was curious to attend the wedding after I saw the words ‘novel wedding’ and the pictures of donkeys on it,” says Vidhya, a Plus Two student from Salem district. While decoration of Maduraiveeran Temple where the wedding was performed and other arrangements went on from the wee hours of the day, the main event was organised between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. as it was considered to be the auspicious time.

It began with the wedding procession.

Accompanied by a band party, ‘Srihari’ was taken under an umbrella to protect him from the scorching sun from a nearby temple to the Maduraiveeran Temple.

‘Yogalakshmi’ dressed like a bride was waiting in a temporary room made of coconut leaves near the temple.

Manickam tied the knot for ‘Yogalakshmi’ on behalf of ‘Srihari’.

Later, the donkeys were taken on a procession through the village when people of all age groups fell on the couple’s feet, gave them cash gifts and prayed for rain. It was followed by a wedding feast that was served for all the villagers and those who had come to witness the strange event.

Baskara Sivagurukal, who performed the wedding, said that this was the first wedding for donkeys that was performed by him.

“They paid my fees and I performed the rituals,” he concluded without making any remark on how fruitful this exercise would be.

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