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A wedding in Lashkarak

By Syma Sayyah
December 13, 2002
The Iranian

It has taken me a few days to recover in order to find the strength to write about the wedding of a close relative before Ramadan started. Like all other weddings, there was so much talking and nagging about it before and afterwards. Some thought it to be wonderful, others thought it would be messy, out of character, a waste of money, disorganized, great, uninteresting, a show off, and so on.

We were told to be there at 4 p.m. for the proclamation of the wedding agreement -- the aqd. So we were all dressed up and ready to go at a quarter to 3 when the taxi came. The ceremony was in Lashkarak, outside Tehran, near an army depot, believe it or not. The whole thing was arranged on ten days' notice, although there had been talk of it since spring.

When we got near the place we were supposed to be, we were unable to find it. it seemed to be in middle of nowhere. We asked a few locals who were enjoying the autumn sun. Each one of them gave us a different answer. Eventually, after having made all possible turns to no avail, we asked a child and followed his direction.

We finally got to the right place just about 4, but nobody was there, and nobody came in except the workers who were putting the place in order.

We began to panic, worrying about what old aunt this and old uncle that would say about this and that, but at the same time we did not know anyone and could not find out who was in charge to even ask what the hell was happening or not happening. Worst of all, we discovered that none of our mobile phones worked in that area; and there was only one Iranian toilet somewhere in the back of the garden, behind the kitchen. It was devastating.

The sun began to take its leave. It was getting cold. And we were all in desperate need of large glasses of tea.

Our friends and relatives didn't show up until 6. The bride and groom arrived just before an hour later, after taking their pictures in some nice park nearby. By that time it had gotten not only dark but quite cold too. Since the ceremony was to take place in a tent on a little patio outside, we put on everything we had brought along, covering up all the special clothes we had put on.

Eventually the aqd took place and gifts were given, followed by very loud announcements which pleased those who had brought "big" gifts and dismayed others, like myself, who had brought something small. Then pictures were taken and eventually we were asked to go inside the tent which had been warmed up with many heaters.

Other guests for the wedding started to arrive as did many huge bouquets of flowers, one more beautiful and more glamorous than the other. Although one was aware that all the flowers would be dead the next day - a great pity, let alone the waste of money.

There were two bands. one playing traditional music near the entrance, where they had put up samovars and colorful qouris (tea-pots). The other band played Iranian pop music. I must admit I had heard better music before. But it was nice, for a change, to see people other than at a funeral, even though there were some I might not have wished to see.

There was a cart serving baaqaali-pokheth (cooked broad beans), another one serving ash-e-reshteh (a soup with pulses and Iranian pasta), and another serving jigar (barbecued lamb liver). There was a huge mountain of fruit between the two levels of the tent and you had to take small steps to climb up or down in order to get to the other side.

We dutifully paid our respects to all those we should have, and many we shouldn't, since we thought it was a wedding and we must all let bygones be bygones. Not everybody felt the same. There was a nasty scene which thankfully came under control very quickly, thanks to the groom's mother's quick response. But it left a sad mark on our beloved groom which was evident for the rest of the evening.

There was so much food that could easily have fed an army, and there were bound to be leftovers, but I did not manage to get any since I was too tired to walk in high heels I had not worn for nearly five years.

They cut the cakes, there was fireworks and, at about 3 am, the bride and groom were driven to their hotel. But we were gone long before that. I am sure you join me in wishing the young couple a very happy life.

The event was big and expensive. Not many people can afford to throw such a wedding for their children, and that's why so many young Iranians stay single. Maybe some day young people will change the customs and build their lives with their own chosen partners, on the basis of their own values, without all this jazz.

Does this article have spelling or other mistakes? Tell me to fix it.

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