Things look a little different in the new Iranian-American weddings. The wedding spread, sofreh aghd, is the same and the ceremony is more or less the same. Bits of American wedding customs have started showing up in the Iranian weddings I attend these days. I don't think these additions take anything away from the Iranian customs; I think they add something to them.
When we went to sit down in our chairs, we each found a little rolled up note, tied with a ribbon. In the note, Dr. Mahmoud Kamiyabipour who was officiating the wedding, the aaghed, had written a description of Iranian wedding ceremony for the non-Iranian guests, so that they could understand and follow the ceremony. I was going to write about the ceremony myself, but I think his is a good representation of the ceremony, so I share it with you here. I'll write another post about this wedding a little later.
"The Iranian marriage ceremony goes back to the history and traditions of the country. The ceremony typically consists of two parts: the ceremony (Aghd), and the reception (Arousi). During Aghd, a Sofreye Aghd or the wedding spread is set up in front of the bride and groom. Food and other objects traditionally associated with marriage are arranged on this Sofreh. Every item on the Sofreh has symbolic meaning inherited from many centuries of Iranian history:
A mirror is lit by two candlesticks on either side. These are the main items on the spread. According to tradition, the mirror and candlesticks should be a gift from the groom, symbolyizing purity and love.
Nabaat, a bowl of flowers made of sugar crystals, is placed for sweetness in the loving relationship and home that is about to begin.
A platter of bread, feta cheese, and fresh herbs, which guests share immediately after the ceremony, are thought to bring the couple prosperity.
A basket of eggs, walnuts, almonds, and other nuts symbolize fertility.
Espand, a brazier brewing wild rue, is brought to drive away evil spirits and unpleasantness.
An open flask of rosewater is set to perfume the air with sweetness.
An assortment of sweets and pastries are set to symbolize sweetness as well.
Fresh flowers in abundance are set to express the hope that beauty will adorn the couple's life together.
A bowl of honey to bring the future as sweet and wonderful.
Two large solid sugar cones are ground over the bride and groom to shower them with sweetness.
The Holy Quran is set as a testament that the couple are committing themselves to each other in the sight of God.
As the ceremony begins, family and friends hold a square white silk or cotton cloth over the heads of the bride and groom, over which ladies grind the sugar cones, raining sweet joy and happiness down upon the couple while wishing them to have a very prosperous and good life together."
I wish the beautiful bride and the handsome groom of this wedding every joy and happiness in their new life together.
Two of my favorite artists perform something fabulous together and I thought I should share it with you on this last Friday morning of the summer! This song, dast maneh bar dahanam (do not keep me from talking), based on a Rumi (Molana) poem, is one of the songs Hafez Nazeri made for his father in his Passion of Rumi album. I did a review of that album last winter. Here is performing with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra in Iran 2006. Maestro Loris Tjeknovarian is conducting. Here's my short interview with Loris in which he talked to me about love and women last spring.
Enjoy and have a good Friday you all!
Here's a clip of Mohsen Namjoo's concert, singing Daheh Shast (1980's). My friend Sabereh Kashi made this clip and it's on Vimeo. Beyond Persia's Lale Welsh and Amir Salamat are the Executive Producers. I borrowed this from Iranian.com. Enjoy!September is such a busy month for me. I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off! I have to help my son prepare for taking off for UC Santa Cruz by September 20th, and our little home is buzzing with activities having to do with his departure. Last minute details and advice are all we do these days. There's so much he needs to know, so much I should tell him. He will be on his own, taking care of himself. He will have to do so many things for himself now. Will he remember all the things I'm telling him? Does it matter, really? I mean how much of life has to be facilitated by loving adults and how much of it has to be learned through trial and error? I don't mind his trials, it's the errors I fear! Heeh! I left my parents' home when I was 18, and it wasn't to go to college in a town 2 hours away--it was to get married and have a life of my own! I remember my father's tears on my wedding night. He asked me why the rush? He asked whether my life with my family and at that house had been so bad I felt compelled to leave it so soon?! He asked me why I wouldn't give him a chance to do the things for me which he had done for his other children? I couldn't understand his and my mother's worries about my upcoming trials and errors! They were the best parents anyone could wish for. Their home was the most loving home ever. Yet, I had to go. I had to leave, because love beckoned me. I did attempt many trials in my life, many of which turned into errors! But I'm forever grateful for the chance to go, to take off, to go see things, to learn things, to suffer, yes, but also to enjoy, to become the person that I became. I want the same things for my son and his brother, even if I know they will face walls and disappointments and pains along the way, for they will also experience joy and fulfillment they could never feel living in my nest. I want my sons to be happy.