All dressed in white: couple get married in protective suits
Photos shared by health authorities show the bride and groom, the priest, and three close relatives wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) at the ceremony. The pair took marital vows in a traditional Hindu ceremony that involved them making rounds around a sacred fire.
Three regional officials were also present at the wedding in Rajasthan state's Baran district on Sunday, to ensure it was done in accordance with "full Covid-19 protocol" including ensuring physical distancing, the region’s chief medical officer Sampat Raj Nagar told the German Press Agency.
The day was full of with drama as health teams received the coronavirus test results at the last minute. They had to stop the bride and her family from reaching the wedding venue and instructed them to report to the Covid-19 center instead.
“The families were in a dilemma, but insisted that, according to customs, they had to go ahead with the wedding since some initial rituals were done. Respecting their sentiments, the administration gave the approval for the marriage at the center with all necessary checks,” said Sheikh Arif, the local health official who supervised the wedding.
Twitter video shows the wedding ceremony with protective suits and masks
After the wedding, the bride and her mother went into quarantine
The health authorities not only provided PPE kits to the bride and groom, as well as their relatives, but also erected a small canopy in the Covid-19 center where the wedding took place.
The video shows the priest wearing a full protective suit and chanting Sanskrit mantras and passing instructions to the couple for the wedding rituals. The two later hang garlands around each other's necks, while they are showered with petals and applauded by the relatives and officials.
“We were really tense but managed to conduct this unusual marriage in times of Covid. The bride and her mother, who also tested positive, are now quarantined at the center. We will do follow-up tests and it is only when she (bride) gets a negative Covid-19 report that we will release her and she can go to her husband’s place,” Sheikh Arif said.
The photos and videos of the wedding have gone viral on Indian social media, with some calling it the "Great Indian Pandemic Wedding."
India has the world’s second-largest caseload after the United States, with more than 9.6 million infections and 140,573 deaths.
Cover photo: 123RF / Ivan Ekushenko