Weddings events in times of pandemic.
This month, the 27-year-old Rohit Kumar made an unthinkable decision for most people in India: he asked his parents to postpone their wedding scheduled for May 1.
But despite the rapid spread of the coronavirus in India – and Prime Minister Narendra Nodi’s three-week quarantine on Tuesday night – they refuse.
Weddings are of immense importance in India, where families spend huge sums on elaborate multi-day ceremonies that often involve thousands of guests.
A 2017 report by consultant KPMG estimated that India’s wedding market exceeds $ 50 billion per year, behind only the United States and with rates showing rapid growth.
But in recent weeks, the rapid pace of contagion in India – a populous nation of 1.3 billion people – is starting to slow down the celebrations, despite the fact that some 550 cases have only been officially reported in the nation.
As authorities tighten restrictions in an attempt to control the spread, couples planning to get married have faced three options: postpone, reduce the number of guests, or try to continue as normal.
After Modi’s announcement on Tuesday, ordering people not to leave their homes, there could be only one option for those who will marry in the next three weeks: postpone.
Technology specialist Kumar and his fiance, policewoman Soni Kumari, 25, are the children of peasants in eastern Bihar state who have so far spent 200,000 combined Indian rupees ($ 2,618.86) on the ceremony, he said, a huge sum for their families.
“This money means a lot to us … (but) I think they should understand the seriousness of this,” he said. “1,000 people will come if everything is done in the traditional way,” he explained.
In desperation, Kumar even wrote a letter to Modi asking him to convince his parents to reduce the number of guests. With postal services across India severely disrupted, he has yet to receive a response.
In recent weeks, weddings across India have begun to fade, with strips of empty seats and food scraps on the holidays.
Mahesh Pakala, a 28-year-old financial analyst, said his Bengaluru wedding was affected by sudden restrictions on public gatherings of more than 100 people established by the Karnataka state government since March 13.
“We had many relatives who were already on the way, on trains from other states,” he said. “We told some of them to come back immediately.”
At a wedding on Sunday in India’s capital New Delhi, the groom’s brother, Mohammed Ahmed, said that only a quarter of the expected 1,000 guests showed up due to travel restrictions.
“A lot of food was wasted,” said Ahmed.
On the same day in the southern city of Chennai, more than 2,000 guests were expected for another marriage, but only just over 400 people showed up.
Workers offered hand sanitizer to guests at the entrance and catering services, and those serving food wore masks.
“Finally, we are glad that most of our closest friends and family made it,” said S Varsha, the bride’s sister, who repeatedly had to ask guests not to shake hands with the couple. “A few empty chairs didn’t ruin our spirits,” he added.
Original article in infobae (Spanish) the translations into English and / or Portuguese are ours.
Reports from Alasdair Pal and Adnan Abidi in New Delhi, Sudarshan Varadhan in Chennai and Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru.