VILLUPURAM: The annual ritual of getting a girl married to a frog organised in Pallu Puthupattu village on the Tamil Nadu- Puducherry border is a interesting meeting of fairy tale and real life.On the first Friday of Thai (Tamil month) every year, a girl of Pallu Puthupattu village is married off to a frog that is fished out from a temple tank.On Friday 8-year-old R Vigneswari of the village was married to a frog that was fished out from a Sri Muthu Mariyamman temple.At the wedding the residents adopted all the rituals that are followed during a normal wedding. The people residing at western side of Sri Muthu Mariyamman temple were considered as relatives of frog. They visited the residence of the bride, Vigneswari and obtained permission of her parents for the marriage.The girl decked up with bridal make up and saree was taken out on a rally on Friday evening. The procession culminated at pond in Vannankulam.After three-hour long ordeal they have caught a frog from the tank. Amidst chanting of devotional hymns and beating of drums, temple priest, on behalf of the amphibian, tied nuptial knot to Vigneswari in a pandal set up at near a school.Residents greeted the 'newly married couple' and offered moi (cash) to them. Dinner was served to all the invitees in pandal. After performing pujas the frog was released into the temple pond.The local residents believe that performing such marriages will protect them from evil forces and ailments.An elder Pachaiyammal said: "People were conducting such marriages for many centuries now. We believe that Sri Mariyamman would protect us from evil forces if such marriages were conducted annually." Villagers said that according to legend, the people here had suffered from various hardship and a large number of children and others died following outbreak of cholera and other ailments in the village.When they offered prayer to Sri Mariyamman, the goddess appeared in their dream and suggested them to conduct 'divine marriage' every year.In the dream the goddess said, the marriage must be conducted between Lord Shiva, who would be a reincarnation as a frog and live in the temple tank, and herself, as she would reincarnate herself as a girl child.
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