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09 December 2023

Python newlyweds draw crowds in Cambodia

A Cambodian man holds Chamreun, his female pet python (left), as a woman holds Krong Pich, her male python, in Kandal province, Cambodia. Hundreds of Cambodians have celebrated a wedding ceremony between the two pythons which they believe would help bring good luck and harmony to their villages. (AFP)


Hundreds of Cambodians on Monday celebrated an unusual wedding ceremony - for a pair of pythons - who they believe will bring good luck to their villages.

The marriage of serpent bride Chamreun to groom, Krong Pich, was held in Village One in Kandal province, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of the capital Phnom Penh, and attracted nearly 1,000 people, according to witnesses.

"We organised the wedding ceremony for the pythons in order to oust bad things and bring good luck and happiness for our villages," said 41-year-old Neth Vy, Chamreun's owner.

Neth Vy said his family had raised Chamreun in their home since 1994, after the then finger-sized snake got caught in his fishing net in a lake.

He said Chamreun had gone missing for over a month but was found a week ago, at the same time people in his neighbouring village caught a male python, which they named Krong Pich.

Old villagers decided to wed the two pythons after a boy, who was believed to be spirit-possessed, said Krong Pich wanted to marry Chamreun, or "people in the villages will suffer illnesses and bad luck," Neth Vy told AFP.

He said some fortune tellers had also appealed for the marriage between the pythons in order to bring "good luck and harmony for the people in the villages".

"So we held the wedding ceremony for the pythons with blessings from Buddhist monks, in accordance with our tradition," he said.

Many people offered money and prayed after the pythons were placed in the same cage following the religious ceremony.

"It surprised me. Since I was born I have never seen snakes get married," said Penh Kong, a 56-year-old vendor, while admired the happy couple.

Many Cambodians are highly superstitious, particularly in the countryside where people continue to merge animist practices with Buddhism.