Kendrapada, Feb 14 (UNI) It was just like a traditional marriage having much fun and gaiety but with a difference.
This unique ceremony, rooted in tradition, was solemnised to express concern over rapid deforestation and the environmental decay caused by the rapacious timber mafia.
The marriage took place between a peepal and a banyan tree as the villagers believed that by marrying tree to tree, they will gain certain sanctity.
With much pomp and enthusiasm at ward No 8 of Brundaban colony in port town Paradeep, the locals had assembled not to give their blessings to the groom - a peepal tree - and the bride - a banyan tree - but to send a message, the need to conserve the trees and protect the human habitation from calamities.
Marriages between trees were accompanied by traditional rituals.
The only difference was that villagers organise such weddings at intervals for their mythical and religious significance. There is a common belief that marrying a ''peepal'' with a ''banyan'' is the most sacred act.
One Pravakar Sahu proposed to the inhabitants of the colony to conduct the tree marriage and the residents promptly agreed to the proposal and decided to solemnise the wedding in the presence of a priest, a barber and a conch-blower.
The locals then decided to hold it on last Monday, on the eve of ''Sripanchami'', considered very auspicious as per the Oriya almanac. Abhya Mantri and his wife Bidyulata Mantri expressed their eagerness to adopt a ''peepal'' tree, which traditionally symbolises the masculine gender, while Pravakar Sahu and his spouse Basanti Sahu played the role of the parents of the banyan, considered to be feminine.
The marriage was then solemnised by the local priest, who chanted ''sanskrit shlokas''. The villagers enjoyed every moment of the ceremony with festive mood and traditional fervour.
The groom's procession, feast and other rituals were conducted as per Oriya custom.
About 2000 people, including guests from the adjoining areas, participated in this ceremony.
Interestingly, many villagers organised the marriage between the trees with much fanfare and rituals with the belief that they would get the blessing of God and get rid of sins committed by them in their life time.
UNI XC DP PC JT RN2237