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Baby girl married to puppy to ward off evil in tribal custom

A tribal family married their daughter to a puppy recently in a village ceremony in Odisha, India, to ward off evil. They chose two potential groom-pups, who were decked up and brought in a procession, before one of them was made to tie the knot. The eight-month-old baby girl Bhabani Munda and the dog were married ceremoniously with even a priest presiding over the event and her clan breaking into a traditional dance, which was followed by a feast. After the wedding the bride was taken back by her parents, while the groom was left on the streets to return to his animal family. Bhabani’s parents Basanti and Avimanyu Munda, who live in Dhenkanal district, had feared that she would lose her health after she began teething from the top instead of the lower row, which is seen in the village as ill omen. To forestall misfortune they decided to get her married to a dog following the tribal custom of ‘Seta Bapala’ or ‘marriage to dogs.’ Munda, a large tribal group in eastern India, believe that performing ‘Seta Bapala’ transfers bad luck to the animal spouse of their babies. While many community leaders condemn the practise as superstition ‘Seta Bapala’ remains popular. It has been estimated that nearly 20 such weddings have taken place over the last six months.


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