Traditions at a Persian Wedding
Persian ceremonies are quite beautiful and tradition-filled. There are two stages to the wedding: the first is called “Aghd”, the legal process of getting married, when both the bride and bridegroom and their guardians sign a marriage contract. The second stage is “Jashn-e Aroosi”, the wedding reception. The ceremony takes place in a specially decorated room with flowers and a beautiful, elaborately decorated spread on the floor called “Sofreh-ye Aghd”. Traditionally Sofreh-ye Aghd is set on the floor facing east, the direction of sunrise (light). Consequently when the bride and bridegroom are seated at the head of Sofreh-ye Aghd they will be facing “The Light”. The spread that is used on the floor as the backdrop for Sofreh-ye Aghd was traditionally passed from mother to daughter. The spread is made of a luxuriously gold/ivory embroidered fabric such as cashmere, satin and/or silk. Each item placed on the spread has a meaning. Check out some gorgeous pictures of the spread and it’s items descriptions below:
Some of the items placed on this elaborate spread are:
- A Mirror (of fate) “Aayeneh-ye Bakht” and two Candelabras (representing the bride and groom and brightness in their future) one on either side of the mirror.
- A tray of seven multi-colored herbs and spices “Sini-ye Aatel-O-Baatel” to guard the couple and their lives together against the evil eye, witchcraft and to drive away evil spirits.
- A specially baked and decorated flatbread symbolizing prosperity for feasts and the couple’s life thereafter.
- A basket of decorated eggs and almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts in the shell to symbolize fertility.
- A basket of pomegranates and/or apples for a joyous future.
- A cup of rose water extracted from special Persian roses “Gol-e Mohammadi” to perfume the air.
- A bowl of gold coins representing wealth and prosperity.
- A scarf or shawl made out of silk or any other fine fabric to be held over the bride and bridegroom’s head throughout the ceremony by various happily married female relatives (mostly bride’s close family members).
- A cup of honey to sweeten life. Immediately after the couple is married they each should dip one pinky finger in the cup of honey and feed it to the other one.
- A needle and seven strands of colored thread to figuratively sew up the mother-in-law’s lips from speaking unpleasant words to the bride! The shawl that is held above the couple’s head throughout the ceremony is sewed in one corner by the needle and threads.
- A copy of the couple’s Holy Book is placed on the spread. This symbolizes God’s blessing for the couple.
- A prayer carpet/kit is placed in the center of Sofreh-ye Aghd to remind the couple of importance of prayer both at blissful times and times of hardship.
- An assortment of sweets and pastries to be shared with the guests after the ceremony.