In a bizarre ritual, India’s Netbadi community holds traditional Hindu weddings of their dead children to mark the 18th anniversary of their death in an attempt to bring closure.
In place of the bride and groom, grieving parents make use of male and female dolls. In one such ceremony, Rameshwar and Veena Devi, a couple in Uttarakhand, north India, held a wedding for their daughter, Pooja, when she would have been 20.
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Pooja, who passed away from an unknown illness at the age of two, ‘married’ Jogendra, whose parents are from the neighbouring Mirpur Mohanpur village. A procession of 30 friends and family from the bride’s side arrived at the groom’s home where there was dancing and a wedding breakfast. The 'bride and groom' exchanged garlands and they were wed according to Hindu rituals.
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Speaking to Mail Online, Raj Kumar Sharma, a journalist, said, “This community cherishes the day their children get married; it's the biggest event in their calendar. For those who have lost a child, they feel it's only natural for them to continue with a wedding. Even though the groom and the bride were represented by dolls, their parents celebrated like it was the real thing.”
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Pitambar from Mirpur Mohanpur added, “If any child from Netbadi community dies young, it is our ancestral custom for them to get married after the 18th anniversary of their death. This is to ensure that they are at peace. Otherwise their family fear they might face hardships or fall into difficult times.”
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This article originally appeared on Daily Mail.