Indian villagers perform marriage of donkeys to promote peace

NEW DELHI, July 17, 2006 (AFP) – A group of Indian villagers presided over the marriage of two donkeys at an ancient Hindu temple in southern India in a bid to promote world peace, a report said Monday. The wedding took place Sunday evening in the Sri Thirumoola Natha Swamy Temple in Tamil Nadu state, the United News of India news agency reported.

The male and female donkeys were led to a colourfully decorated dias inside the temple for the ceremony attended by about 3,000 villagers, the report said.

The animals were dressed in traditional wedding finery, with the “bridegroom” sporting a traditional silk dhoti, a garment worn by Indian men loosely round the waist, and the “bride” wearing a silk jacket and sari.

The couple were garlanded by villagers amid chanting of verses from religious texts by Hindu priests before a villager tied the nuptial knot on behalf of the groom on the bride.

“Weddings” such as these are normal in parts of India’s rural heartland but are usually conducted to appease the rain god or during prayers for a bountiful crop.

But villagers said their objective Sunday was to appease God so as to ensure peace and prosperity in the world.

Later, the “couple” were