All You Should Know About Persian Wedding Traditions
Iranians see marriage as a very big event that involves a lot of splendor and fun. Amazingly, the majority of Persian wedding traditions came from the Zoroastrian period. The Persian nuptial has two stages: one comprises all the rituals and legal work, while the other is the actual feast and entertainment.
Earlier, nearly all marriages were arranged by the known people. In the Persian wedding tradition, families are very important; therefore, when a male would reach the age of marriage, he would be taken to meet the suitable girls. After the meetings, the boy’s family chooses the most appropriate bride and shows the interest in getting married. The family of the groom goes to the girl’s family with several gifts and asks for her hand. This practice is known as khāstegāree. It should be noted here that the wedding traditions in Iran have evolved with time, particularly in the urban areas; and now mostly the girl/boy themselves choose their prospective partner. However, even with the changing times, the Iranian couples marry only after their parents have accepted the match. And it is usually the boy’s family which initiates the talks.
Before the Iranian Wedding
Before the wedding is to take place, some other gifts are sent to the bride’s house from the groom’s family. Although, the modern Iranians people typically don’t follow all rituals, nevertheless, the ritual of traditional gifts can still be seen. Iranian weddings are usually very expensive, and the expenses are paid by the groom’s family. All financial details are discussed prior to the wedding, with negotiations.
Traditionally, there is also a bathing rite before the actual ceremony when the fiancee is washed and cleaned completely.
Three days before the celebration is to take place, the soon-to-be-bride is made to visit the beauty salon, for the rite of getting rid of the body hair. This Persian ritual marks the change of the bride from a girl to a womanhood. This is why, in many parts, a woman going for threading and waxing shows her marital status.
Iranian Wedding Ceremony Traditions
Aghd is the actual ceremony, which starts with the groom sitting, and in his front is a table that has numerous extremely symbolic items placed on it. After some time, the wife-to-be arrives and sits beside the groom.
There are also marriage witnesses present from both the sides. The pastor or other males with accepted authority carry out the lawful portion of the marriage.
This portion involves giving love to the girl and boy, who are to be married. After this, some things are said regarding the significance of the system of marriage. Next, the couple is questioned if they agree to this marriage. After the bride is questioned, she does not answer. However, when the bride is questioned again the third time she says yes. This pause before the response shows the man is restless to have the wife.
After the girl has said yes, the priest starts reading the verses. This is followed by signing the legal documents, after which the two are officially declared the married couple.
At this time, the newly married pair is presented with gifts from their respective in-law’s sides. When the couple leaves, they are hailed with petals, money, noghl and rice. Noghl is sugar-coated almonds. In all the Iranian feasts, the sweetness of noghl symbolizes the happiness in life.
The Reception — Wedding Spread
The intricately adorned spread in front of the couple comprises numerous items that signify a different facet of the old belief. Mirror and candelabras are the two extremely vital components in the Zoroastrian religion and signify light and fire. The big flatbread is particularly baked and adorned to bring thriving banquets. Gold signifies wealth. Honey and glazed sugar are believed to sweeten life. Esfand is burnt and is said to protect from the evil eye. In some marriages, the grain seeds are scattered on the spread signifying richness and fertility. The tablecloth is known as ‘Sofreh’ in Persian and is usually extremely rich itself. Typically, a cloth called a termeh, which a very costly fabric from India is used to covers ‘Sofreh’. Sometimes, termeh is decorated with extremely small pearls.
Traditionally, a big China bowl holding some sweet drinks is placed on the spread. Also, loaves of bread, blocks of cheese, and a rich mix of dried herbs and spices (sabzi) are placed on the spread.
After the rituals, there are grand spreads, and a lot of dancing and entertainment, which is the second stage — reception. The Persian wedding ceremony traditions are extremely different when compared to the western, and with times, people are modifying the Persian wedding traditions and customs to fit with the western world.