Residents of Assam's Katabari area have been suffering drought-like conditions due to scanty rainfall, and so high is their level of desperation, that they recently conducted a marriage of frogs in a bid to please the almighty and seek benevolence in providing sufficient rains to get over their current crisis.
Expressing their despair over the government's lackadaisical attitude and apathy towards providing enough water, Katabari locals went traditional to seek divine intervention.
There is a traditional belief in Assamese society that arranging a marriage of frogs will satisfy the rain goddess.
"We have a water problem. Every year, we conduct this marriage to get rains. We believe that once we do this, we will get rain. This is done with the help of donations from people of all walks of life," said Zad Ali, one of the residents.
People, irrespective to caste, creed and religion, took part in the marriage ceremony. There was a spirit of communal bonhomie as both Hindus and Muslims participated in the wedding ritual and shared the expenditure.
The event included decorations, the presence of a band party, and food for all.
"The last time we did this, we got rain. We have invited lots of people and arranged for food," said Dijen Thakuria, another local resident.
Champa Boro, a resident here, said the marriage of frogs is done as per the Hindu tradition.
"We offer prayers based on tradition. We enjoy doing this. The issue of water is serious in this area," she said.
Purnima Boro, another resident, echoed similar sentiments.
"People from all communities participate in this. We hope this will bring rain," she said.
The marriage ceremony of frogs is similar to what is practiced by humans. There are guardians from both sides. However, the male frog named "Jonki" doesn't have a father, but only his mother who goes by the name of Mrs. Jamuna. The female frog going by the name of "Panoi", is represented at the marriage by both of her parents-Suresh and Minoti Boro.
Artificial frogs are used in the actual marriage ceremony, while live frogs are kept in a basket. Both frogs are given a ritual bath by their guardians and the priest. Thereafter, the remaining rituals are performed with the real frogs.
The parents of the female frog are gifted with a bed, a set of gas and a gas stove, a mirror and combs etc.
People danced and sang on the occasion.
The locals collected funds for gifts for the frogs and for feeding guests.
After the marriage, the frogs are returned to the pond from which they were extricated. (ANI)