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Pretha Kalyanam: What Does The Marriage Of The Dead Means?

A Dakshina Kannada home in Karnataka witnessed a rare marriage ceremony in which two infants were married off to each other posthumously, 30 years after their death. The incident took place on 28 July 2022. Even though it sounds eerie, it is true.

The traditional wedding ceremony concluded with their parents praying for a happy-ever-after married life for their just married kids. Shobha and Chandappa were the couple that was officially married in a peculiar wedding ceremony, 30 years after their death. Scroll down the article to know more.

Strange but true, till date the wedding ritual for the deceased is followed by communities like Nalkadaya, Mogeyar and Mavilan, who live in the northern outskirts of Kasargod, a district in Kerala, which is close to the Karnataka borders.

Commonly referred to as Pretha Kalyanam or 'marriage of the dead", this particular tradition is still practised by some Kerala and Karnataka communities with the hope that the ritual would grant peace to the souls of the deceased.

What Is Pretha Kalyanam?

A 'Pretha Kalyanam' which is also known as Necrogamy, is conducted between those children who died as kids, before they turned 18 years. This strange ritual is conducted among many communities in India and the ghost marriage is meant to honour the deceased souls. The child who died as soon as he/she was born, would be usually married to another kid who had also passed away at birth as well. A formal wedding ceremony is organised so that the children get salvation and their souls can be finally put to rest.

It is based on the belief that the children who passed away before they turned 18 years of age, would surely wander as souls, without attaining moksha. Also, the siblings of the deceased would be the first to be affected by bad luck. This tradition stemmed from the notion that life can never be complete without marriage, and the unmarried would not attain sadgati or moksha.

Sometimes, it so happens, that a child dies in the family and years later, the family faces serious problems in getting their other children married or problems with conception. Astrologers unanimously say that the soul of the dead child should be at peace and the only way to ensure that is to conduct the wedding for this soul. Those unfamiliar with the traditions of Dakshin Kannada, might find this idea a preposterous one, but this ceremony is viewed from a very serious angle here in Dakshin Kannada.

The marriage ceremony is formally conducted and follows all the usual ritualistic regulations. The families of the bride and groom make an effigy of both using hay or wood or silver. It is the siblings that perform all the stipulated rituals, from exchanging the garland to applying Sindoor on the bride's forehead. Saptapadi also is included in the ritualistic procedure wherein the ambiance is surprisingly not gloomy, but rather cheerful and exuberant.

The only restriction is that children and unmarried girls must not attend the event, as guests. The bride and groom effigies are carried around the temple as a last step of the procedure and the effigies are either placed under a Pala tree or just immersed in a nearby pond. Some even cremate the effigies to give a meaningful conclusion to the ritual. A sumptuous feast that includes fish fry, chicken sukkah, and mutton curry as the menu options are served on banana leaves and the event comes to a close with this.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Disclaimer: The information is based on assumptions and information available on the internet and the accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed. Boldsky does not confirm any inputs or information related to the article and our only purpose is to deliver information. Boldsky does not believe in or endorse any superstitions.

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