A Unique and Mysterious Ghost Marriages in India



Marriages in India are famous for their colorful rituals, varied ceremonies, and deep traditions. But among the most intriguing and unique rituals especially in the state of Karnataka is the tradition of ghost marriages. These rituals, known locally as “Pretha Maduve,” are performed in memory of single people to bring their souls peace and protect their families from misfortune. Continue reading this blog which delves into the mysterious world of ghost marriages in India, uncovering the history, customs, and cultural importance.

If you are a historical traveler or mystery explorer then India is the place for you. This nation has many untold stories and the ones in Karnataka will leave you surprised. Sounds interesting right? Then why wait? Book flights to Bengaluru and get ready to delve into the quirky, mysterious, and hidden stories of incredible  India.

Why People Organize Ghost Marriages in India’s Karnataka?

Karnataka culture has an ancient tradition of ghost marriages, known as “Pretha Maduve” in Kannada. These are marriages of people under the age of 18 who passed away as infants or teenagers. This tradition comes from the idea that life is incomplete without marriage and that single souls may roam aimlessly after death, bringing misfortune to their living family. Families hope to secure the welfare of those alive while also bringing harmony to the spirits of the dead by initiating these ghost marriages. 

The Tradition of Pretha Maduve

One of the unique Karnataka traditions that have been passed down through the decades is the tradition of ghost marriages in India. As the society has a deep belief in honoring their ancestors, the rituals are held with the same elegance and respect as any other marriage.

Shobha and Chandappa’s Ghost Marriage in Karnataka

Let’s consider the ghost marriage of Shobha and Chandappa, who became one in holy matrimony on July 28, 2022, as an instance. The wedding was held in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, at the ancestral house of Shobha. Their tiny idols, made of wood and thatch, followed the entire wedding ceremony even though they had passed away as infants 30 years ago. While Chandappa was dressed in a white mundu, Shobha was wearing a dhare saree from the groom’s family, decorated with traditional jewels. This ceremony happened following traditions. It was performed with the exchange of garlands and a delicious meal for the guests too.

The Reason Behind Pretha Maduve

Like briefly mentioned above, the Pretha Maduve tradition evolved from the belief that a single soul cannot achieve Moksha or freedom. Families have the belief that the spirits of their dead infants roam. This might result in misfortune and challenges for their siblings. These issues could include trouble getting married or having children. Seeking advice from an astrologer usually suggests a ghost marriage is the answer to these problems. Families feel that by performing such a marriage, they are protecting the dead person’s soul from harm while also offering them peace.

Rituals of Ghost Marriages

Matchmaking and Betrothal

The first step in the procedure is to find a good match for the deceased. When the horoscopes of the departed are matched by a professional astrologer, a formal betrothal is arranged if both families approve. An engagement can only take place if the bridegroom is at least two years older than the bride.

The Wedding Ceremony

The wedding ceremony is held in the groom’s family house and is typically performed at night during Amavasya, or the new moon. Presents from the groom’s side of the family greet the bride at her house, and the ceremony is performed beneath a tree, which stands in for the reception hall. The spirits are symbolized by the bride and groom’s Effies, who are dressed in traditional costumes. Reciting mantras, exchanging garlands, carrying out the seven-step Saptapadi rite, and Kanyadaan (giving away the bride) are among the rituals.

The Grand Feast

A grand feast served on banana leaves marks the conclusion of the ghost marriage, just like any other traditional Indian wedding. Popular Karnataka cuisine is served, including fish fry, steamed rice, chicken curry, mutton gravy, and idiyappam and idli. The bride’s effigy is taken home by the groom’s family following the feast. The rite is then completed by placing the effigies under a Sataparni tree, submerging them in water, or cremating them all together.

Ghost marriages in India, especially in Karnataka, provide a mysterious and unique window into the intricate culture of this region. These customs, which are based on a profound respect for the dead and a need to ensure peace among the living, are a reflection of the rich traditions and beliefs of Karnataka culture. Experience these fascinating customs and learn more about the various Karnataka cultures and traditions that make India truly special when planning your next international trip.

While making your travel plans, remember to check out Indian Eagle travel for the best deals on flights, which ensures an enjoyable and affordable trip. 

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