Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Persian Wedding Traditions

Mirror and spice tray

Prayer book

Apples and sweets

Candles and flowers

Painted eggs & nuts and crystallized sugar

Our wedding was a very multi-cultural and interfaith affair, reflecting our diverse backgrounds and cutures. While our wedding ceremony incorporated a lot of elements from the Jewish traditions, our celebration also reflected many elements of ancient Persian wedding rituals. For example, during our second wine ceremony, the officiant added a drop of honey to the wine we shared. Sharing honey by a newlywed couple symbolizes the start of a sweet married life, according to Persian tradition.

Persian wedding rituals are more than 2500 years old, dating back to the ancient Zoroastrian tradition, the old religion of Iran before the advent of Islam. Traditionally, the ceremony takes before the wedding spread or Sofreh-ye-Aghd, which we also had at our wedding. The articles placed on the Sofreh symbolize values, wishes & hopes of those close to the bride & groom for the new couple.

Mirror represents the purity of marriage; Candles represent light & fire, sacred in ancient Persia; Decorated Bread & Cheese & Herbs Platter represent prosperity; Honey, Sweets & Kaseh-Nabat (crystallized sugar bowl) represent a sweet future; Eggs & Nuts represent fertility; Live Fish represent life; Pomegranates & Apples represent joyous future, pomegranate is a heavenly fruit & apples symbolize the divine creation of mankind; Gold Coins represent wealth; Espand a type of incense used in Zoroastrian purification rituals & to ward off evil; Spice Tray (Seenie Atel o Batel) with seven types of spices to guard against evil eye & drive away evil spirits; Rose Water to perfume & purify the air; Red Roses, with Thorns, to remind the couple that marriage is always beautiful but not without its adversities; Fresh Flowers express the hope that beauty will adorn the couple’s life together; A Sacred Book such as Avesta, Bible Quran or, as at our wedding, a Hebrew Prayer Book, represents faith in God.

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