In a heartwarming display of unity and resilience, a mass wedding ceremony recently took place in Kabul, Afghanistan, involving 50 couples. These collective celebrations have become increasingly common as low-income couples seek alternatives to the exorbitant costs associated with traditional weddings.
The brides, veiled and concealed in a separate wing, made their appearance only after the midday meal, according to reports from local media. The event, meticulously organized by a charitable organization, not only joined couples in matrimony but also provided them with essential items such as carpets and household appliances to help them embark on their married lives.
An official from the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice addressed the attendees during the understated ceremonies. While Koranic recitations filled the air, it’s important to note that dancing and music, once integral parts of joyous occasions, remain effectively banned by the Taliban rulers who returned to power in August 2021.
The newlyweds, adorned in traditional attire, were whisked away in cars adorned with green ribbons and heart-shaped red plastic roses. This poignant scene symbolized not only the union of hearts but also the hope for a shared future despite the challenges imposed by societal restrictions.
Roohullah Rezayi, an 18-year-old from the Hazara Shia Muslim minority in Ghor province, shared with AFP news agency the financial constraints that led him to opt for a mass wedding. He revealed, “A traditional wedding would have cost us at least 200,000 to 250,000 Afghanis [£2,220 to £2,770; $2,800 to $3,600], but this time it will be between 10,000 and 15,000 Afghanis.” Roohullah, who earns a modest income of 350 Afghanis per day through odd jobs, emphasized the financial relief provided by this collective celebration. “We invited 35 people from our two families; otherwise, it would have been 300 to 400,” he added.
For many grooms, like 23-year-old Samiullah Zamani, a farmer from Kabul province, the mass wedding marked the end of a prolonged wait. Expressing his excitement, Samiullah said, “I’ve been waiting for this day for three years. I can’t wait to see her.”
This mass wedding serves as a testament to the economic challenges faced by the Afghan populace, particularly the lower-income individuals who struggle to finance elaborate ceremonies. It reflects a growing trend where couples are opting for more affordable and practical alternatives to celebrate their love, even in the face of societal constraints.
The choice to organize such collective ceremonies not only alleviates the financial burden on individual couples but also underscores the resilience of the Afghan people in finding ways to celebrate love and commitment. The provision of essential items by the organizing charity further emphasizes the collaborative effort to support these couples as they embark on their marital journeys.
While the traditional elements of music and dance may be absent due to the prevailing restrictions, the couples’ joy and the communal celebration paint a picture of hope and unity. The decorated cars carrying the newlyweds through the streets serve as a visual representation of the community’s support for these unions, despite the challenges imposed by the current political climate.
As the newlyweds begin their lives together, this mass wedding stands as a poignant reminder of the strength of love and the resilience of individuals in the face of adversity. It signifies a departure from extravagant ceremonies, highlighting the importance of simplicity, unity, and community support in celebrating the enduring bonds of marriage.