Wedding Ritual

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Recently got a chance to attend a wedding, noticed a custom which i found anachronistic with the tunes of current times, where we claim ourselves to be an educated lot with a modern outlook and mindset. I believe most of the people who were part of this wedding custom were very well educated people, working with some of the best organizations of the world, very well dressed. Let me stop circumlocution and come to the point, this was a custom of washing Groom’s feet, performed by bride’s younger brother. Using a water Jug, a large steel tub, the boy applied soap to groom’s feet and wiped them clean.Could not believe i was living in 21st century, how would human sanity provide a justification for this?

Some people say that this is a gesture that symbolizes the belief that a bridegroom is a form of God for girl’s family who will be taking the hand of girl and would protect her, and this particular ritual is going on in the families since generations and they want to uphold it with full dignity. Another explanation, which appeared more logical was that in ancient times people used to travel through muddy roads for days before reaching the place where marriage was to happen, and when they will reach they will be tired and dusty. So this custom was performed as a sort of protocol to clean and relax their feet. However, its not so anymore these days, but the custom has continued!!

This reminded me of lines from famous Anthropologist James Frazer “myth changes while custom remains constant; men continue to do what their fathers did before them, though the reasons on which their fathers acted have been long forgotten. The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.”

On one hand we are striving hard to gain knowledge, material wealth, enhancing the quality of life on the other hand, we are not ready to let go of archaic rituals and beliefs. Will we as a society ever change?

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