Khadia community celebrates mass marriage during Rath Yatra

The event is unique as no dowry or gifts are exchanged, and parents do not bear any financial burden.
Young boys and girls marrying the person of their choice on the first day of Rath Yatra at Palabani Durga Puja field in Baripada
Young boys and girls marrying the person of their choice on the first day of Rath Yatra at Palabani Durga Puja field in Baripada Photo | Express

BARIPADA : The Palabani Durga Puja field in Baripada bustled with excitement on Monday night as young members of the Khadia community, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), gathered for their traditional mass marriage ceremony.

This age-old practice, held on the first day of Rath Yatra, allows boys and girls to choose their life partners and settle down without the burden of dowry, believing that matches are made in heaven.

The Mayurbhanj Khadia Janajati Development Committee (KJDC) organised the event, overseeing decorations and managing the proceedings. Hundreds of boys and girls participated in the ceremony, which continued throughout the night.

The event is unique as no dowry or gifts are exchanged, and parents do not bear any financial burden. The matchmaking process begins on the day of Raja Sankranti, a three-day festival, where boys and girls engage in friendly contests and choose their partners. If a boy or girl is unable to find a partner, their parents later arrange the marriage traditionally.

Pasanna Dehuri, president of the KJDC informed that nearly 300 boys and 400-450 girls from Baripada, Karanjia, Rairangpur and Kaptipada sub-divisions participated in the ceremony. “These marriages are solemnised with the belief that love is more powerful than money and ornaments,” he explained.

Despite the enthusiasm, the community expressed discontentment over the lack of support from the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) of Baripada, despite a memorandum submitted to the department on July 4.

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