EXTRAORDINARY MARRIAGE CUSTOMS.
The correspondent of the Bombay Gazette, writing from Ahmedabad on February 11, says:—This new moon has ushered in the great marrying month among the Kudwa kunbis at Guzerat. This matrimonial season comes but once in twelve years, se that there will be thousands of marriages this month in this and other places where these people are found, with much uproarious tomtoming and ruinous expenditure of money. Every person, male or female, a suckling infant or an octogenarian, who is to be married must be married in this month, and as a large sum has to be paid down for every girl that has to be disposed of, poor parents of girls or even the wealthy, if cursed with a quiverful of them, ruin themselves for all time to come, in getting them married to little boys a couple of months older, and if these little husbands die off, a? many children do, all the money paid and spent in disposing of the girl is lost, and the girl comes back to her parents a widow scarce a year old. For these reasons, it is strongly suspected that female infanticide still prevails among this people. When a husband is not available, many expedients are resorted to ; the most common being to marry the girl to a round bunch of flowers, which is thrown into a well or in the river the next day ; or the ceremony is gone through with a now earthen pot, which is soon after broken, and the girl is thereupon considered to be a widow and as such eligible for remarriage at any time, widow marriage not being prohibited among these Kudwaa. Another plan is to have what is called a “ hand-husband.” That is a man who is willing to take the girl as his second wife, and for a sum of money to give her a divorce the moment after the ceremony has been gone through. In a few days there will be a great gathering of these kunbis of Kuddee, near the village of Asarwa, a couple of miles out of the Kaloopur gate of the city, to receive the messenger from the temple of their tutelary rnata at Oonza. The office of the messenger is hereditary and worth something. He is received with much ceremony and gets many presents from the head of the ' community. The propitious days op which marriage is to be performed are appointed by the goddess herself. She is supposed to reveal them in a dream to the guardian of her temple, who, we may be sure, makes a good thing by it at least once in twelve years, for the mata will make no revelation unless duly propitiated by gifts. The messengers, who pay a fee of fifty rupees to the temple, then go off to all parts of India, even to Benares, to promulgate the auspicious days. After the days are declared, those kunbis will decorate the doors of their houses with garlands and festoons, daub their lintels with yellow and red colours, and go in for much festivity, feeding and finery. The
petty- grocers and graindealers will t over their swelling accounts, and th n who keeps the old solitary brass band—a fearful affair —will.be for the time being the most important personage in Ahmedabad.
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