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Mother cat parade, frog weddings: unusual rain-seeking rituals around the world

  • In India, frogs are sacred animals capable of detecting heavy rain in advance and making weird sounds to call for rain. Indian villagers hold frog weddings during drought.
  • Villagers in northern Thailand now substitute mother cats with Hello Kitty toys and Doraemon which are sprinkled with water. Recording of mother cats' screams is played to seek rain.
  • A special rain-seeking prayer was held at the water park in Yoshika, Shimane prefecture of Japan, where 12 men carried a 10m long python made of straw and moved around a lake at the water park. It rained at the end of the ceremony.

KUALA LUMPUR (Sin Chew Daily) -- The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia has called for mosques throughout the country to pray for rain in a bid to help clear haze.

People throughout the world perform traditional rituals to pray for rain during drought. For instance, Thai people will be carrying mother cat during parade, Indians will be holding wedding ceremony for frog, Indonesians will whip each other, Japanese use straws to make a python `playing with water` and so on. Various types of prayers, which are creative and unique, are used to pray for rain.

Apart from cloud seeding, agricultural-based countries and regions would use traditional methods to increase rainfall by holding prayer sessions, paying tribute to god and dances. Some countries adopt rare and unique ways to pray for rain. For instance, in central region of Thailand, farmers would hold mother cat parade during drought. Mother cats are carried in the parade to walk around the village and mother cats are splashed with water. Mother cats would then scream and the sound is believed to be calling for rain.

However, as more people protest against the act of abusing cat, villagers in northern Thailand now improvise the method of seeking rain. Mother cats are replaced by Hello Kitty toys and Doraemon. The toys are splashed with water and recording of screams of mother cats are played to replace the ritual of splashing water on mother cat.

In India, frogs are regarded as sacred animals and they can detect heavy rain in advance and then make weird sound to call for rain. Indian villagers would hold wedding for frogs during drought.

The villagers apply color on two frogs during the wedding and villagers would witness the two frogs kissing before the frogs are released in river nearby. Villagers believe such act helps to seek blessings for rain.

Besides holding wedding ceremony for frogs, in northern India, some farmers would request their unmarried daughters to plough the land in nude so that the irresponsible ` weather god` would wake up from `embarrassment` and have rainfall.

Dragon God is believed to be the god in charge of rain in the Chinese tradition. Prayers to pay tribute to the Dragon God will be carried out during drought. The Xiangxi Tujia in China believes that drought occurred when the Dragon God turned lazy. The people would seek for wizard to catch a small snake in the mountain and confine the snake to seek rain. Snake is seen as an icon of the dragon by them.

In Yunnan the tradition to pray for rain is to place a piece of burning iron into the well. The dragon in the water would be woken up and there would be rainfall.

Local officials in Taiwan will hold prayer sessions for Goddess of Sea Mazu, Shui Xian Jun Wang and Dragon God to seek their blessings requesting for rain.

The news portal of Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun once reported a special prayer for rain. On 16 June 2013, the special prayer to seek for rain was held at the water park in Yoshika, Shimane where 12 men carried a 10m long python made of straw and moved around in a lake at the water park.

A thousand-year-old cedar tree is right by the lake. Legend has it that the Dragon God is resting on the tree. When the `python` made of straw is causing a stir in the lake, the dragon will be returning to heaven and bring rainfall. At the end of the ceremony, it rained.

In Indonesia, a prayer session called Ujungan is used to seek blessings for rainfall. Villagers would be whipping each other to pray for rain. Villagers use the veins of palm leaves to make ropes and use the ropes to whip each other until one is bleeding. The villagers would not stop despite the pain. They dance in laughter.

 

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