In Khochakandar, India
Giant toads trade nuptials in India
Villagers hope wedded bliss will bring summer mist
Updated: 4:12 a.m. ET June 6, 2005
KHOCHAKANDAR, India - Two giants toads were married in a traditional Hindu ceremony in eastern India at the weekend by villagers hoping to propitiate the rain gods and end a dry spell.
Some 400 people cheered and blew conches as women put streaks of vermilion on the female toad’s head while a band played music and priests solemnized the marriage to the chanting of Hindu hymns.
The toads were picked up from separate ponds, dressed in bright red clothes and brought to the marriage venue in a decorated palanquin in Khochakandar village in West Bengal state late on Sunday.
The married toads were released into a pond after the ceremony in the village about 225 miles north of the state capital, Calcutta.
“Our forefathers used to organize marriages of toads to get sufficient rain for cultivation. We hope rain will be coming very soon,” said Konica Mandal, one of the organizers of the wedding.
The village has been reeling under a severe heat wave with temperatures touching 111 degrees (44 degrees Celsius), drying up ponds and creating problems for farmers and their crops.
The southwest monsoon hit India’s southern coast on Sunday, about four days later than normal, but it will be some time before the rains wind their way to the rest of the country.
A heat wave sweeping India, Bangladesh and Nepal has killed nearly 100 people over the past two weeks.