Ethereal Matrimony: Advertisement seeking 'Ghost' groom raises eyebrows

10:27 AM May 12, 2024 | Team Udayavani |

A newspaper advertisement seeking a ‘ghost’ groom (Pretha Vara) for a deceased young ‘ghost’ bride, (Pretha Vadhu) has stirred attention in Tulunadu.


“If the family of a male child of the same caste, who died 30 years ago, is willing to conduct a ghost marriage for a female child who died 30 years ago, please contact,” the advertisement read in Kannada.

The advertisement has reportedly garnered over 50 responses, highlighting the seriousness with which this tradition is approached.

The ‘Ghost’ Bride Chronicle:

The recent ‘Ghost Bride’ chronicle allegedly began when unsettling incidents occurred within a household in Puttur. Upon consulting ‘experts’, it was revealed to be a supernatural occurrence – related to the death of a one-month-old girl child in the household about thirty years ago. It is believed that the incidents were a reminder to have the girl get married. Consequently, they have decided to arrange a marriage for the woman who passed away three decades ago.


The resident of Puttur, who shared his experience with ‘Udayavani’, said that despite inquiries made among family, relatives, and friends yielding no leads. Frustrated by the lack of information, they resorted to placing an advertisement in the newspaper, viewing it as crucial for restoring peace within their household.

He also expressed the emotional significance attached to this practice. Despite some ridicule on social media, many defend the tradition as an integral part of Tulunadu culture, emphasizing its emotional and belief-based roots.

‘Kule’ marriage tradition:

The concept of “Kule” (ghost) marriages, which are conducted for the salvation of unmarried individuals who have passed away, is deeply ingrained in Tulunadu’s beliefs. While initially conducted discreetly within families, these marriages have gained visibility in recent years, with some even taking place in temples.

According to Professor K. Chinnappa Gowda, a folklore scholar, the rituals associated with ghost marriages mirror traditional wedding customs, underscoring their cultural significance in Tulunadu society. These ceremonies are conducted with reverence and are considered vital for the spiritual well-being of the departed.

“In Tulunadu, a prevalent belief suggests that if an unwed boy or girl reaches adulthood, they face the possibility of no salvation. To address this concern, the tradition of Kule (ghost) marriage is observed, aiming to secure salvation for those who passed away” he said.

“In Kule marriages, the sequence of events follows similar patterns to conventional marriages in contemporary society. Each ritual, from the girl’s visit to the boy’s house, etc. is meticulously performed with utmost respect. Such rituals hold profound significance in Tulunadu, serving as a cornerstone of life. Marriages of this nature are not solemnized while family members are alive,” he explained.

Translated from a Kannada article by Dinesh Ira


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