First Mass Hindu wedding in SAfrica to become regular event

First Mass Hindu wedding in SAfrica to become regular event

Eleven couples, most of whom had only been married in a civil court without a traditional Hindu wedding because of financial constraints, participated in the traditional wedding ceremonies at the Shree Veeraboga Emperumal Temple in the town of Tongaat, some 30 km north of here.

Among them was one that went round the traditional fire seven times after 17 years of living together. The concept was the brainchild of Centre head Swami Saradaprabhananda after he discovered that there were many couple living together simply because they could not afford a traditional Hindu wedding as much as they desired it.

The Veeraboga Ramakrishna Wedding Fund was initiated to ensure that the ceremonies could be conducted with the required prayer goods, thalis, garlands, appropriate clothes and food.

The eleven couples were chosen from among 28 who had responded to a newspaper advertisement placed by the Fund. Financial need was the deciding factor; most of those selected being either unemployed or earning subsistence wages.

In one instance, a groom earning a small wage as a cashier was the breadwinner for his wife of three years, their son, his father, sister and two nephews.
The couple was overwhelmed by the wedding they had always wanted to have. An official said the budget per couple of just over Rs 2,000 allowed them to bring 20 guests each to be part of their special day by sharing a meal of biryani and a sweet dish.

After the ceremony, conducted in Sanskrit, the couples each left with a basket of groceries to see to their immediate needs as well.

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