'Magic pythons' married in Cambodia to bring luck

Female python Chamroeun lays in a cage after its wedding ceremony at Svay Rolum village, Kandal province, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. Hundreds of Cambodian Monday organized the weird wedding ceremony to a pair of what they believed a magic pythons to ask for prosperity and safety. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

January 3, 2011 6:19:23 AM PST
Hundreds of villagers flocked to a wedding ceremony Monday between a 16-foot (4.8-meter), 200-pound (90-kilogram) female python and her slightly smaller mate -- both believed to be magic snakes that bring prosperity and peace. The two-hour ceremony in Svay Rolum village, 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of the capital Phnom Penh, ended with two Buddhist monks blessing the pair and villagers showering them with flowers as wedding music played.

Most Cambodians, almost all Buddhists, also subscribe to animism -- a belief that spirits can inhabit all sorts of living and inanimate objects. Whenever an odd animal makes an appearance, it is cause for the superstitious to celebrate.

"We married these pythons to ask for health and prosperity in our village," said 41-year-old Neth Vy, owner of female python named Chamrouen.

"We were told (by fortunetellers) that the two pythons are husband and wife and they need to live together, and if we don't marry them we will meet bad luck," said Neth Vy, who found the then-tiny python while fishing 16 years ago.

He said since the snake became part of the household, the family's living conditions had steadily improved and no misfortune had befallen them.

The male python, named Kroung Pich, was caught 12 days ago by Hin Mao, a 44-year-old, childless woman who said she regarded it as her son.