San Jacinto Amilpas, Oaxaca state, Mexico: At a mass ceremony, women in San Jacinto Amilpas, Mexico married silent and tall grooms, AKA Trees. The grooms are great for the planet and are renowned for their woods.
Video from the mass ceremony in Mexico show brides dressed in white hug and kiss their beloved trunks as they pledge their devotion forever.
There was even a bouquet to throw – though presumably one of the humans caught it, rather than a guest from the trees’ side of the family.
The wedding was designed to draw attention to the problem of illegal logging in San Jacinto Amilpas, Oaxaca state. Around a third of Mexico’s land area is covered by forest, and there is a widespread problem with illegal logging, mostly controlled by criminal groups.
Oaxaca is one of the five states worst hit by deforestation, and by the ‘marriage’ stunt campaigners hope to raise the profile of attempts to protect woodland.
‘Marry a tree’ began as a ritual of giving thanks to Mother Earth carried out by the organization ‘Bedani’, and later gave way to a symbolic wedding based on Inca customs where women and men ‘marry’ trees in a rite led by Peruvian actor and environmentalist Richard Torres.
Tree marriage is a symbolic marital union of a person with a tree that is said to be infused with supernatural life. Tree marriage may also be a form of proxy marriage. In one such practice, between a bachelor and a tree, the tree was afterward felled, thereby endowing the man with the widower status required to marry a widow. Tree marriage was once widespread in India. The term can also refer to a nuptial ceremony that takes place in, on, or around a tree or that is sanctified with some part of the tree, such as the bark or sap. The latter practice is more usually part of a religious system or cult organized around beliefs that trees contain hidden or sacred power to cure or to enhance fertility or that they contain the souls of ancestors or of the unborn.
We are using India as an example as is not the only place in the world where actual tree marriage is practised.
Indians pay special attention to astrological compatibility. If a bride is born “manglik,” or Mars-bearing, she is considered to be cursed and cause an early death to her husband. According to an old Hindu custom, the only way to break curse for a bride is to marry a peepal or banana tree! Yes, a tree!!! The tree is then destroyed, and the curse is broken. A bride can also marry a silver or golden idol of the Hindu God Vishnu.
The current Indian constitution, however, outlaws tree marriage.
There was even a lawsuit filed against Aishwarya Rai, the Indian film star and a former Miss World, for following this tradition and marrying a tree. Apparently, her astrological sign was incompatible with that of her fiancé, Abhishek Bachchan, a Bollywood star.
The Indian human rights activists, who filed the lawsuit, demanded Miss Rai and her family to offer a public apology for promoting the caste system and contributing to further violations of women’s rights in the country.
The tradition of marrying a tree (India’s version) refers to untouchability, a practice when a group segregates itself from the mainstream by rejecting change of customs. Untouchables are also the lowest cast in India.