First invitee in Uttar Pradesh village is well, not relatives


Lucknow : Not the elders or close relatives who head the list of guests at weddings, birthday celebrations or social events in an Uttar Pradesh village, but it’s the village well that gets the first invitation for any function.

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The unique custom of first inviting the well to social events or gatherings is being practiced by the locals of the Nagla Ramlala village in Etawah district for over last 50 years.

Invitation cards, either printed or hand-written, are to be dropped in the ‘Preta’ (supernatural) well, which is the only source of drinking water in the village.

“Irrespective of their financial condition, residents of the village invite the well by dropping an invitation card into it. The first invitation for any auspicious event has to be dropped into the well by the head of the family organising the function,” head of Nagla village Komal Singh told IANS over telephone from Etawah, some 150 km from Lucknow.

“While those belonging to affluent families offer a printed invitation card to the well, others of poor financial condition simply drop a piece of paper, stating the date and the name of the function to be organised by them,” he added.

Nagla Ramlala village has a population of around 1,000 — most of them involved in the dairy business.

Locals believe the tradition of offering invitation cards to the well is enabling them to face water shortage in the village and that if the custom is not followed the well would dry up, leading to severe water crisis.

“There have been a number of occasions in the past when residents of the village forgot to drop the invitation cards for social events, following which the well dried up and the villagers had to face acute water shortage,” said Vinod Singh (47), who owns a dairy in the village.

“It is also said that a number of people died whenever the well dried up. Taking this into account, families in the village can perhaps afford not to intimate their relatives about the functions, but certainly cannot ignore the well,” he added.