Marriage in Afghanistan Sophia Fergione
Laws That Govern Afghan Weddings • Girls are allowed to marry once they turn sixteen, but can be engaged when they are ten or younger. • Afghan women cannot marry non Muslim men, but Muslim men can marry non Muslim women (Afghan Weddings). • One very controversial law is that Shia Muslim women cannot refuse to have sex with tier husbands . • A woman who is married cannot leave the house without her husband’s consent (Farmer). • Married women are prohibited “from working or receiving an education, unless their husbands expressly permit them to do so” (Afghanistan, Islamic State of: Law Restricts Women's Rights). • If a woman’s husband dies the wife cannot inherit the house; it will most likely go to a brother or son (Afghanistan, Islamic State of: Law Restricts Women's Rights).
The Process of Becoming Engaged In most cases the mother will see a young women of another family and think she is good for her son. Then she will point her out to her husband and ask if she is a suitable match. The wife will also start asking people what they know about her to she if she is worthy of her son. When two families meet for the first time, the son’s family will say nothing just observe the girl. When they make their second visit the son’s family will tell the girl’s family all about their son and request they think about a marriage. If the girl’s family agrees they will bring a piece of candy to the boy’s house to show “they are in agreement and are happy with this process.” They will be engaged for a month to get to know each other better then their wedding will be planned.(Afghan Weddings).
Forced Marriages • Despite laws that say you have to be sixteen to marry many young women are married off to much older men by their fathers • “According to UNIFEM and Human Rights Watch, more than 70 percent of marriages were forced in 2009”(Forced Marriage Information Flyer – Afghanistan). • The reason for many forced marriages is to pay off a debt or settle a dispute between two families. • An 18 year old girl named Zaiba had her ears and nose cut off by her father-in-law after leaving her forced marriage. Her father paid a 40 year old man $15,000 dollars to marry her, and she didn’t want to (Boman).
“Girls may be married in the villages as young as age 8” (Afghan Brides). Child Bride
Traditions of an Afghan Wedding • “Weddings are elaborate affairs in Afghanistan. Even poor families will go in to debt, spending close to $20,000 for the clothes, the wedding hall, the food, singers, flowers, and photography”(Afghan Weddings). • Much different than in America, Afghans send out their wedding invitations only 1-2 days before the wedding. • Islam does not allow alcohol weddings. • After the ceremony when it is time to dance, men will go to one side of the room and women the other; they are not allowed to dance together. “The bride and groom will usually sit down on the women’s side, and not even appear to the male guests”(Afghan Weddings). • “Typically, a chicken or a sheep will be sacrificed near the bride on her wedding day by a close male relative of the groom. Then a brother, uncle, or father of the groom will smear some blood in the bride's shoe” (Afghan Weddings). • A bride must not smile during her wedding or it will cause her father to lose honor. “Her happiness must be contained or people will think she is happy to leave her father's house”(Afghan Weddings).
Traditional Afghan Wedding Dance • The dace they always perform at weddings is called the Attan • “It's origin lies in the Afghan Pashtoon tribes pagan yester-years and usually involved men performing a ritual dance. This was later modified into a Muslim dance of soldiers to allow the dancers to get 'closer to God' before they advanced on their missions”(Attan - The traditional and national dance of Afghanistan). • As little as two or as much as a hundred can perform the dance together • Everyone dance around in an ongoing circle to the beat of a drum(Attan - The traditional and national dance of Afghanistan).
What a Afghan Bride Wears • At the engagement party, which is required in most Islamic cultures, a bride wears a purple dress. • “The wedding requires usually two dresses – first, the Islamic green wedding dress and then the fairytale-esque white wedding dress”(Afghan Weddings).
Afghan Village Weddings • In an afghan village wedding all the men will go to the groom’s house to celebrate, and all the women will go to the brides house the celebrate. • “The men and women will stay separated during the entire affair, until the moment the groom goes to retrieve his bride and bring her to his house”. • When the husband picks the bride up they will be in a car that is decorated elaborately.
Works Cited • "Afghan Weddings." About-Afghanistan. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. • "Afghanistan, Islamic State Of: Law Restricts Women's Rights." Library of Congress Home. N.p., 07 Apr. 2009. Web. 09 Oct. 2012. • "Attan - The Traditional and National Dance of Afghanistan." Attan - The Traditional and National Dance of Afghanistan. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. • Boman, Bahman. "Afghan Women Face Abuse for Fleeing Forced Marriages." Www.rawa.org. N.p., 13 Dec. 2010. Web. 12 Oct. 2012. • Farmer, Ben. "Afghanistan Revises Marriage Law but Women Still Required to Submit to Sexual Intercourse." The Telegraph. N.p., 09 July 2009. Web. 12 Oct. 2012. • "Forced Marriage Information Flyer - Afghanistan." Forced Marriage Information Flyer - Afghanistan. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2012.