The wedding season in India has flourished again, thanks to the easing of anti-Covid measures in many states. But the one celebrated in Samaspur, Uttar Pradesh, was one of the most dramatic, and criticized, wedding celebrations of recent years. Surabhi, a 23-year-old girl who was about to tie the knot, according to the Hindu ritual, with her future husband Manoj Kumar died of a heart attack while she hung a garland of pink and yellow flowers around the neck of the groom; after a few moments of bewilderment and despair, the marriage continued with the younger sister who replaced the deceased by a doctor, even though she was not wearing the scarlet red sari and gold necklaces.
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The episode sparked a flurry of reactions on social media that stigmatized the tradition of giving widowed men a sister of the deceased. It was Samaspur, brother of the brides, who reconstructed what had happened: “My parents were sad and desperate, they didn’t know what to do,” he said. «Their decision was painful but right. My mother was heartbroken, but a marriage is a matter of honor between families and must be respected ”. Thus the idea of replacing Surabhi with the younger Nisha emerged. “The families gathered in a room and everyone agreed.”
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Shortly after, without anyone having asked the opinion of the young Nisha, who as a bridesmaid found herself a bride, the rite took place until the end, between songs, bells and the traditional final procession. “I didn’t think you could feel pain for a death and happiness for a marriage at the same time,” added Samaspur. Local media criticized the lack of respect for Surabhi: her body was kept in a room until the end of the wedding procession, with no one watching over her; only when the wedding was over did the celebrations turn into a funeral rite. This wedding isn’t the first to end bizarrely in India – a girl recently married one of the party guests after the groom didn’t show up. According to the reconstructions of those present, when it became clear that the betrothed had mysteriously disappeared, the young woman’s family decided to pick the candidate among the bride’s bachelor friends. So the ceremony was held anyway, only with a little delay.