Anita’s Wedding


… I pronounce you man and wife

I’ve just come back to Varanasi right on Kartika full moon, fifteen days after Diwali. Reaching the city from the airport, the usual traffic frenzy seemed to be increased due to the excitement for the evening culminating in DevDipavali.


DevDipavali 2010, steps ( ghats ) of the city seen from the Siddhapeeth

In this night tradition tells that Gods come down to Varanasi to bath in the holy Ganges and are welcomed with lamps, offerings, Mantra’s recitations and a spectacular Aarti on the floodlit steps (ghats), where hundreds of people are involved in a sensational religious show.


Kartika Moon (full moon of the month of Kartika)

The best way to look at the ceremony is to reach the center of the ghats by boat and enjoying the show rocked by the river. Fireworks shine in the sky till late in the night. Varanasi is full of devotees, tourists and curious people, and moving with whatever transport is practically impossible.


Anita, in yellow on the right, gets ready for the great event

The weather is still warm but cold starts to appear shyly after sunset.  It’s wedding time and going through the main roads or the surrounding ones in the evening, it’s all a bridal procession which enters a yard, comes out from a garden or goes through a hall. Usually  families rent spaces of different size which are adorned with neon lights and multicolor festoons, resounding with music of a deafening volume and a big movement around. Immediately recognizable from the passers-by, they want to express in the ostentation family resources. In some days considered as astrologically propitious, authorities invites not to go to the city with cars.


The exchange of flowers garlands between the newlyweds

Roads are covered with processions of the bridegroom’s families who go to the bride house. The bridegroom can ride a horse, an elephant, coming seated on a golden cart or simply on a car. Also the procession wants to show the status of the family and so a long line of boys, with high neon lights and lamps on their head, and a generator to supply them, is at the head of the procession gladdened by a imprecise musical band.


They feed each other with a betel leaf

In a more simple and discreet way, one of the oldest girls, Anita, one of those who started the primary education in our school firts, got married, as well. She might be eighteen, nineteen years old , the usual age for wedding amongst this very poor families.


The husband leads his bride…

The husband’s family has been very understanding and didn’t want any dowry. Worthy of praise. In a time of global confrontation like that we are living in, the episode is maybe a sign of change amongst young people for this often criticized Indian custom. Anita’s wedding took place in the temple of our center.


…but then is leaded by his wife

The ashram has adopted a mongoose puppy, our new mascot; it had been seen wandering on the river bank attacked by a group of crows.


Anil Baba and the mongoose puppy

Nittu, carpenter Pratap’s daughter, took it with her and make it sleep in her room. It’s a very nice animal and would be the joy of every child.


Nittu and her new friend

We  have started to prepare the place for Mahanirvana Diwas, on November 29th , which will gather, as every year, thousand of devotees of Shri Aghoreshwar and friends. It will take some days to organize the event but, since some time, the kids have been rehearsing the dances, songs and plays they will present for the occasion. A good reason to have fun together.