A seven-year-old boy in a rural Indian village in the state of Jharkand was forced to marry a female dog to ward off evil spirits as his horoscope predicted his first wife would die at a young age.
Signs of Mukesh Kerayi’s ominous future came about when he grew a tooth in the upper part of his mouth, which according to traditional beliefs is an indication of bad luck.
As a result of the unfortunate signs, Kerayi’s family made him marry a female dog in order for it to become his first wife and save his future wife from bad luck.
“We believe the marriage will ward off any bad omen attached to the boy. This is traditional practice in our tribal community and we still believe in these old customs,” Mukesh’s grandfather Ashok Kumar Leyangi, 43, was quoted as saying by The Metro. “We feel that it is our adult responsibility to keep our children safe and happy this way.”
The unconventional wedding was celebrated with excitement and the dog was dressed in a bridal outfit while the villagers came out to honour the ceremony and danced through the occasion. However, soon after the ceremony, the dog was sent off back to the streets.
Though the Indian government has put in a lot of effort to end such practices, several of the region’s tribal communities staunchly believe in horoscopes and follow superstitions.
In September 2014, a teenager in Jharkhand was married off to a male dog after her parents believed their daughter was cursed and that marrying a man would bring destruction to the family and her community. “I am marrying a dog because the village elders believe that my evil spell will be passed on to the dog,” Mangli Munda, the bride, had then said. “After that is done, the man I will marry will have a long life,” she added.
This article originally appeared on International Business Times.