Ramchandrapur village in Bangladesh's Sadullahpur district enjoyed an usual wedding on Tuesday. Unusual because the bride and the groom were a species belonging to the phylum Chordata commonly known as "frog." The marriage ceremony was comprised of the same rituals that are performed to certify an alliance between two humans. It was a joyous occasion for the residents with an urgent underlying appeal to God for a sufficient and consistent rainfall in the coming months.
Frogs are the first creatures we associate with rain. The onset of monsoon magically brings hordes of these amphibians out into the open. The hopping and croaking creatures are an important component during the initial stages of any biological research as well a popular source of food in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
The Buddhist Jataka tales contain a story called "The Meritorious Frog" wherein a frog pained by the staff of a villager does not struggle or cry out for help because he realizes that the innocent man is completely immersed in Buddha's tranquil voice coming from some distant place. The frog bears the pain and eventually dies. As a result of this considerate act, the frog is reborn in the Realms of God as Lord Indra, the god of rainfall. Hence, frog marriages are employed as a medium to please Indra with the hope that the satisfied Lord will bless the village with bountiful rainfall.
In many sections of rural India, a frog mask dance is performed in which verses of the seventh Mandala of Rig Veda are sung. One of these verses, samvatsaram sasyana, is dedicated to the frog. Legend says that continuous recital of these hymns pleases Lord Indra and he shows his gratitude by providing rainfall to quench the thirst of the singers. But, in some traditions, frogs are anguished by tying them to a nimba tree anticipating that the sympathetic Lord will use rain as a means to pacify the croaking Salientia (Latin for frog).
The marriage ceremony initially involves a hunt for a male and a female frog which is usually an arduous task in a rain-starved region. Last year in Nagpur, India, the male frog for the ceremony was picked up from a drain near the local mental hospital after a concentrated effort of three days. While in India the rituals are performed by a priest, it is the local women who solemnize the marriage in Bangladesh.