A different wedding
By Hamid Bakhsheshi
Today I was reading some of the letters
in iranian.com and came across the word "Aghed",
one who marries two people, a Muslim priest, if you would. It reminded
me of my good friend's wedding in Kansas City last July. Friends
and family gathered from different corners
of the US
and celebrated the beloved friend's memorable day.
A couple of days
before the wedding, Mehrdad, the groom, told me that both he and
his wife were not too crazy about the idea of
a traditional "aghed".
For one thing Kansas City, unlike Los Angeles, doesn't have the
of "agheds" and
what they ended up with was a a Pakistani cleric from
the local mosque, who would perform the ceremony in Arabic. That
idea just didn't set well with the newly-weds-to-be.
He asked me if I knew how to read the Qoranic marriage
vow (Khotbeye aghd).
I told him that
I could perhaps wing it, but really don't know much about the actual
wording. Our other friend, Masoud, always joked around about marrying
couples, but he also chickened out.
The idea came up about Zoroastrian
traditions. This one really threw everyone in a loop. We got on
and searched and searched until we came up with the Zoroastrian
Two hours before the wedding, Masoud and I sat on
the bed in the hotel room and broke the "code". It was
a very long ceremony filled with words neither one of us had ever
seen nor heard.
We kept looking at each other and trying to make sense of some
of the words and the correct pronunciation. It was a test of our
roots and how well we retained the language. We did ok, perhaps
So, just a few minutes before the wedding the write
up was ready, checked
twice and rewritten twice. I volunteered to do the job! We walked
down stairs and after getting the word that everyone is ready,
I walked in
to the room. A beautifully set "Sofreh" with all the candies,
which we brought from LA, "Naan", candle flames dancing on
silver candle sticks, the mirror, and yes, despite all the Zoroastrian
themes, a Qoran.
It was quite breathtaking. A good friend of
more than fifteen
years, the wonderful Zohreh, sitting next to him, and an overall
and very common Iranian wedding feeling of parents and siblings
being there. Those same old familiar feelings of happy and sad
we all have had in these ceremonies.
What was really funny was the whispering of "Aaghaa
is ready" and
muffled hisses that filled the huge
I never thought I would ever be referred to as "Aaghaa"!
My wife looking at me proudly across the room, Masoud winking
and giving me the thumbs up, which is kind of risky in a room full
of Iranians, and the rest of my friends making fun of me, of course!
I started, "In the name of the creator..." all in the
most beautiful pure Farsi.
Everyone was quiet and respectfully listened. The
feeling I had, marrying my good friend, being in the presence of
my other good friends,
using the language we all ought to be using, all in all,
it was good.
There were two cell phones held at my mouth, both
connected to Iran, one for the bride's family and the other for
the groom. When
I finished, everyone enjoyed the freshness of the very different
ceremony. A few attendees even asked me if I could do the same
for their wedding or their kids. I told them that this was my first
time and I am not a "minister" of any kind.
I guess the
experience left me asking the question, "why not"? Why
not Zoroastrian? Why is there any
religion involved in a ceremony like this? I guess there doesn't
need to be. Two people who are in love and want to solidify it
with marriage and a wedding, why not make it guided by nature alone.
I don't know if my Mother has
seen the tape of my friend's wedding or not,
but I am sure she would be thrilled.
In the meanwhile, I will be available to do similar ceremonies
for any "Hamvatan"!
goodbye to spam!