Saturday, 20 July, 2024

Resurging virus casts a pall over wedding ceremonies


By Sampada A Khatiwada
Kathmandu, May 3 : A few days before the government imposed prohibitory orders, the main bazaar areas of the valley were thronged with people for wedding-related shopping as Baisakh month of the lunar calendar, considered auspicious for weddings, is in progress.
However, a lot of wedding ceremonies scheduled for Baisakh have been hampered after the government restricted gatherings and receptions by imposing restrictions in light of the spiking COVID-19 contagion.
This year, the auspicious wedding dates on Baisakh month were on April 23, 24, 30, and May 7. While some decided to postpone the wedding, some rescheduled it earlier than the auspicious date.
For an instance, Bibhusha Pandey's wedding was scheduled for May 7 but as soon as the government decided to impose the prohibitory order, the ceremony got rescheduled and was held on April 28. "As soon as the restrictions were imposed, we became so panicky that it would be lengthened just like last year as the COVID-19 cases are also on the rise," said Bibhusha, now a newlywed bride.
"We told our priest to mark an auspicious time (Saahit) on April 28, a day before the prohibitory order would come into effect, and got married. As the ceremony was conducted without any preparations, only a few of our immediate family members and friends were a part of it," said Pandey, adding that it was even more tiring to get married in the midst of pandemic.
However, not all the marriages that took place during the pandemic had a happy ending. Ashmi Sharma's (name changed) wedding was on April 24. But as the government had restricted gathering in party venues, Sharma's family decided to host a muted wedding ceremony at their home in Manamaiju. The ceremony was moving on just fine until bride Ashmi fainted. She was immediately rushed to B.P. Smriti Hospital at Basundhara. As it was found through her X-Ray report that she was suffering from severe pneumonia, she was shifted to the ICU. Later, her RT-PCR report revealed that she was infected with the coronavirus.
"She passed away on Saturday at around 4:00 pm. Despite trying every medication, we couldn’t save her," said Bharat Sharma, Ashmi's father. "We couldn’t identify the symptoms before the wedding due to the tiring preparations. But when we found out, it was too late."
"I request everyone, especially those who are getting married, to get their COVID-19 test done at most two days before the ceremony and not make mistake as we did," he added.
Moreover, groom-to-be Sujan Pathak from Chandol decided to postpone his wedding. "Marriage is one of the biggest affairs in everyone's life.

My fiancé and I had planned a lot for our wedding and we wanted it to be held in a certain way," he said.
"The nation has been hit by the second wave of the pandemic in such a way that the spread of the virus may not come under control anytime soon. The government has also ruled that only 15 people can participate in a wedding," said Pathak. "A lot of our relatives and acquaintances will not be able to be a part of our wedding. Also, I do not find it practical to make sure that all the wedding attendees are abiding by the health and safety standards. Thus, we decided to postpone our marriage for December."
Meanwhile, Anjan Gurung, who got married on April 29 views subdued marriage ceremonies happening these days as the 'silver lining' of the pandemic.
"Before the pandemic, marriage used to be an extravagant affair. People would spend a large sum of money unnecessarily to make their wedding ostentatious," said Gurung, adding, "But after 2020, they have been subdued in the presence of only intimate family members and friends with zero unnecessary expense on receptions, clothes, jewellery and many more." Gurung opined that the wedding rituals should be subdued even after the pandemic.
Alok Tuladhar, a culturist said, "It is important to give continuity to our culture. However, as the dreadful situation of the pandemic is going on, the marriage ceremonies should take place fulfilling only the formalities by keeping the safety standards on the first priority."
"No auspicious time is required for reception and parties. Thus, marriage ceremonies can be held on the auspicious dates with minimum attendees and parties can be held one or even two years later after the world bids farewell to coronavirus," said Tuladhar, stressing that health takes precedence over everything else.