No rains despite frog marriages

SANJAY SHARMA, INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE
Bhopal, July 1 (IANS) The bride and groom are dressed, sprinkled with turmeric and vermilion and taken in a procession to the nearest pond for their ‘honeymoon’ with fervent prayers that the amphibian marriage would bring much-needed rain. But no showers are anywhere in sight in Madhya Pradesh.
This is the scene in Chhindwara district where villagers are busy organising and attending the weddings of frogs.
‘Frog weddings are a tradition here. These weddings are being held in some village or the other in the district because of the monsoon being delayed,’ said a villager.
People in rural Chhindwara, 300 km from Bhopal, and in several other parts of the state believe that it will rain if they ‘please’ the frogs by getting them married.
‘Even in this hi-tech era, we have a strong belief in this tradition. It may seem like superstition. But once we perform the weddings we get good rains,’ Kukku Bai, former president of the Khapa village council, told IANS on telephone.
A frog marriage was performed in the village Wednesday.
A mahurat (auspicious time) is first set for the wedding. The bride and groom are then dressed in clothes dipped in turmeric. Villagers sprinkle the ‘couple’ with turmeric and vermilion and then take them out in a procession.
Three women release the couple into a nearby pond at the end of the wedding. Prayers are recited and flowers showered into the pond. The couple is left to begin the ‘honeymoon’ and the village is hopeful the effort will bring on the rains. So far, however, the ritual has not led to rains.
That has not hit the expectations anyway. The entire village is invited to the ritual.
‘We are all agriculture-dependent people and this is the time to start farming. So for a good crop we need good rains, and for that we perform frog marriages,’ said Beni Prasad, a farmer from village Khapa.
‘For ages now we have followed the belief that if we perform these weddings we will have a good monsoon. If we get the frogs wedded, then Varuna, the god of the oceans, will bless us with rains,’ he stated.
‘We have performed the wedding and are hopeful that rains will soon lash our village,’ said Parvati Bai, a villager.
Similar rituals have been performed in Chandangaon, Baredi, Ramakona, Borgaon, Pipla and other villagers to please the rain gods.
The weatherman has predicted that the monsoon is likely to hit the state Sunday.
In June, Chhindwara had only 34 mm rainfall, whereas the normal requirement for sowing crops is 100 mm of rain.
‘This is the first time in the past 30 years that the rains have been so scanty throughout June,’ said C.K. Jain, an official of the agriculture department.

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