A Mexican mayor married an alligator on Thursday, in a ritual dating back centuries to pre-Hispanic times among Oaxaca state’s Huave and Chontal indigenous communities.
The alligator was dressed as a human bride with her mouth tied shut. She was carried during the ceremony with loud music and cheering people around her.
San Pedro Huamelula Mayor Victor Hugo Sosa married the seven-year-old alligator as a prayer asking for nature’s help: “We ask nature for enough rain, for enough food, that we have fish in the river. We need to ask for things with love so Huamelula won’t suffer consequences.”
Oaxaca is home to many indigenous groups that have maintained their languages and traditions. The age-old ritual in San Pedro Huamelula, which is now mixed with Catholic spirituality, involved dressing the alligator in a white wedding dress plus other colorful clothing.
The animal is seen as a representation of mother earth, and her marriage to the local leader symbolizes the joining of humans with the divine.
“Since the first day I was chosen as a godmother, I was thinking about what I was going to dress her in because for us as Chontales (indigenous group), this is our most important festivity,” the crocodile’s godmother, Elia Edith Aguilar, said.
“It is a privilege to be the godmother, very few people can do it. It gives me so much happiness and makes me proud of my roots and this beautiful tradition,” she added.
Norma Raymundo Perez cared for the crocodile since she was a baby: “She eats chicken, meat, fish, whatever we have. As she grows, she eats more. At first, she ate every eight days, now she eats twice a week.”