Marriage in Iran is very different compare to other countries, especially the European and American countries. It may be interesting to know about Persian wedding rituals for many tourists. For this reason, Irantrawell has provided a brief introduction of the Persian wedding ceremony and rituals.
We also recommend tourists to attend to Persian wedding ceremony. Iranian hosts are very hospitable.
Acquaintance of girl and boy in Iran
In Iran, girls and boys choose two ways for acquainting. The choice of acquaintance depends on familial, cultural and religious conditions of each family.
Traditional marriage in Iran
The first type of marriage in Iran is traditional marriage. Some young people like to marry in the traditional way. In this way a mother, a sister or one of the boy’s relatives considers a suitable girl for the boy. If the boy agrees with the chosen girl, the mother goes to the chosen girl’s house with someone else (probably her daughter or her sister). After initial talk if the girl agrees, they will make “khastegari” appointment.
In some cases, a girl is introduced by some relatives to the boy’s family. The boy’s family who have not seen the girl yet, go to their house as mentioned above.
We will explain about “ khastegari” below.
Non-traditional marriage in Iran
In this type of marriage, the boy and girl get acquainted personally. After a while (this can be short or long, but usually not longer than 3 years.). The boy tells the story to his family. They call the girl’s family and if they agree, they will make the “khastegari” appointment.
- Sexual intercourse is not common in Iran during acquaintance. And in almost families this is very undesirable.
- Most young people in Iran prefer non-traditional marriages. This is while families prefer traditional marriage.
- Being informed about this kind of friendship and acquaintance, in families in Iran, is not common. Young people try to keep this relationship secret from their families.
The above mentioned cases vary in different families and cities due to cultural and religious differences.
After the above mentioned steps, both families make the “khastegari” appointment. Afterward the boy’s family go to the girl’s family house. This is usually held at night. At this party , usually the boy (groom), his father, mother, sister or brother attend. In some cultures, other relatives, such as grand uncle or grandparents also attend. The boy’s family should bring pastries and a large bouquet. The formal dress is worn in this party. The girl, her parents and siblings or grandparents also attend. To follow the rituals, hosts provide pastries, tea and fruit for their guest. Also the girl (bride), her sister or mother customarily offer tea to the guests.
After the initial talk which is general speaking, they start the main debate. Usually the boy’s father gives an explanation of the circumstances of his family and his son. And the boy speaks for a moment.
Then the girl’s family is asked to let the boy and girl to talk in private. Now they go to the room and talk. If the “khastegari” is traditional, the boy will explain his condition and asks the girl’s requirement, and If it is non-traditional, conversations can be of any kind.
One or two days after khastegari, the boy’s family call the girl’s family to ask for their opinion. If they agree, the next appointments will be made to speak and get acquainted more.
In Iran, according to the Islamic law, a gift called “Mehriye” is given to the bride by the groom’s family. This gift is generally determined in the form of coins, money, gold, land, carpets and so on. Of course, they do not give it to the bride, immediately. But at a special ceremony that elders of both families are present, the amount of mehriye is agreed by the both families. After “aghd”, the bride can claim this amount whenever she wants. And if it is not given, making a complaint would be possible.
At the ceremony, after agreement, they eat pastries and congratulate together. And the amount of mehriyeh is written and signed on paper.
After announcing agreement of both families, engagement ceremony will be held. This event can be simple or splendid. In simple ceremonies, the groom’s family give some gifts to the girl such as: a jeweled ring, a piece of fabric for clothing, a white “chador”, and other things, depending on the families own culture. This ring is called “neshan” ring. This means that they give her the ring and they consider her for marriage.
The term of the engagement varies from one to six months. It’s a time to get to know each other more and more.
Muslims hold “aghd” to formalize bride and groom’s marriage. That is, Arabic sentences, called “khotbeh”, are read by a person in authority. By reading the “khotbeh”, the bride and groom are officially married. This means that any communication between them is allowed. The person who reads khotbeh, asks the bride if he can start the khotbeh? And repeats his question for three times. Then the bride says, “with the permission of my mother and father YES” (or other sentences with “yes”)
The ceremony ends here either, or a celebration is held, in which the bride wears a beautiful dress or bridal dress and groom wears suit. The ceremony ends with a serving of pastries, sharbat and fruits or dinner.
More precisely, in this ceremony they spread a kind of “table of wedding” which is called “ sofreh aghd”. The bride and groom should sit at the table. A cloth is taken above their head and a lady grind a sugar loaf on it. There are these items in the table: the mirror, the Quran, almonds, walnuts, eggs, wheat, bread and cheese and vegetables, yogurt, flowers, water, etc. the existence of each of these is philosophical. For example, the bread is for the blessing of life and the water for happiness. After reading the khotbeh, the bride and groom exchange the marriage rings and wear them. And it is customary for the bride and groom to put some honey in each other mouth with their little finger.
It is customary to share bread and cheese and vegetable sandwiches among guests. Also, in some cities, they give a small candy(almost nabat) as a gift to guests.
The duration of the “aghd” in various cities and cultures is usually between one and two years. At this time, the girl and the boy live with their own families, separately. But they are in touch regularly and can stay at each other house at night. This is the time to prepare for the future life.
In many cultures, during “aghd” time the bride and groom do not have sexual intercourse.
In Iran, it is customary for the bride’s family to buy furniture and other stuff for the bride and groom’s house.These stuff are called “Jahiziyeh”. Some cultures bring jahiziye to the couple’s house with a special ceremony. And some people after arranging furniture and stuff show them to the guests at a ceremony. In most cities, most stuff (kitchenware, catering equipment, furniture, etc.) are provided by the bride’s family and electrical appliances (refrigerator, TV, laundry, etc.) by the bride’s family.
After a while, it is a wedding ceremony time. But on the night before, another ceremony called the Hanabandan (put henna on hands) is also held. Hanna or Lawsonia inermis is a plant that is used in a specific way to create color on the body. In this ceremony, a suit which will be worn tomorrow evening along with hanna, pastries, fruits and … are brought on the trays. Then put hanna on the hands of the groom and his single friends or bride and groom. Then wrap a piece of cloth around their hands and dance. Some small gifts also are given to the guests.
On the morning of the wedding day bride and groom go to the beauty salon and hairdressing salon. In some cities, there is also a ceremony entitled taking groom to the bath. In which the groom goes to the public bathroom with his friends. At noon, the groom goes to the beauty salon with a decorated car and pick up the bride. Then they go to a photography studio or garden. Photography continues until about sunset. Then the bride and groom go to the hall (in some cities, the wedding is held a big yard instead of the hall). Guests who are already celebrating in the hall, give a warm welcome to the bride and groom. They enter and dance together. And then sit on the seat prepared for the couple.
In many cities and cultures of Iran, men and women are in separate halls, means women are in a distinct hall and men are in another hall. After dancing and eating fruits and pastries, guests are prepared for dinner. Dinner is usually grilled chicken, kebab, chicken with rice. Sometimes they may cook one or several types of food.
After eating dinner and dancing, it’s time to go home. In the meantime, distant relatives go to their homes and the immediate families stay with the bride and groom. Then they escort the brid and groom’s car to their house. When they arrive, all of them come back to their own home.
Bride and groom breakfast
Tomorrow morning after wedding the bride’s family bring a hearty breakfast for them.
Golryzan or Patakhti
Golrizan or Patakhti events in many cities and cultures is held on the wedding night. And in some cities the day after the wedding day. At the ceremony, relatives and acquaintances who were invited to the wedding put some money in a pocket and give it to the bride or groom’s family. Some others also give coins or other gifts. Sometimes the names of the people who brought these gifts are announced along with the amount of the gift and are thanked by reading poems. In some cities, the ceremony ends with a meal.
Persian wedding ceremony
Persian wedding ceremony in villages is held in much more beautiful and unique forms. In these weddings you will see more colorful clothes.
Read more about Iranian Cultures