CUSTOM IS STRONGER THAN LAW
India is one of the few countries in the world where child marriage is practiced. The government and civil society organizations vainly urge Hindus to abandon this archaic tradition. In 2006, the Hindu festival of Akshaya Tritiya fell on April 30. It is revered as a day of beginnings and renewal. It is believed that at this time, the supreme god Vishnu fulfills any requests of believers. Newlyweds enjoy special patronage of the celestial. Therefore, it is customary to play weddings on Akshaya Tritiya. FIRE-WITNESS When the Russian traveler and artist Prince A. Saltykov landed in the port of Bombay, he was struck by the large number of young brides and grooms. In his first letter from India, dated March 18, 1841, he writes:: "When you walk through the streets, you often see lattice buildings with a lot of candles burning in them: these are Indian temples where they perform wedding ceremonies: they marry ten or twelve-year-old boys to five or six-year-old girls. The bride and groom are almost naked, but hung with rings, necklaces, smeared with yellow paint, surrounded by many people. They are washed and then painted again, and this goes on continuously for three or four days, with the sound of drums and violins, day and night, and surpasses any description. " 1 Over time, wedding rituals in India have changed. However, children's marriages are still arranged by their parents. It happens that the bride and groom see each other for the first time during the betrothal. They do not remember the names of their betrothed and are not always clearly aware of what is happening around them. On Akshaya Tritiya, the streets of towns and villages are filled with noisy wedding processions. At the head of each is a car, where the boy-groom, dressed up like a prince, is sitting. In the old days, he was supposed to arrive at the bride's house on an elephant or at least a horse. Modern parents prefer to rent jeeps. They are so densely covered with flower garlands that they look like mo ... Read more
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06.06.2024 (10 days ago)
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