Afghan couples marry in mass ceremony in bid to cut costs

Grooms hold bouquets of flowers during a ceremony in Kabul
Image caption,The ceremonies have become a growing practice to reduce the astronomical cost of traditional weddings

By Thomas Mackintosh

BBC News

A mass wedding ceremony involving 50 couples has been held in Afghanistan.

Such ceremonies have become more common as low-income couples seek to avoid the high costs of a traditional wedding.

The brides-to-be were kept out of sight in a separate wing – it was only after lunch they appeared, local media say.

The event, in Kabul, was organised by a charity which also provided the newly-weds with items including a carpet and household appliances to start their married life.

An official from the ministry for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice spoke at the low-key ceremonies.

While recitations from the Koran were read out, dancing and music remain effectively banned by the country’s Taliban rulers since they returned to power in August 2021.

The brides and grooms were then carried away in cars decorated with green ribbons and red plastic roses in the form of hearts.

Roohullah Rezayi, 18, explained to AFP news agency he could not have afforded a solo wedding.

“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,” he said.

The young man, a member of the Hazara Shia Muslim minority and from Ghor province, earns barely 350 Afghanis per day doing odd jobs, the agency says.

“We invited 35 people from our two families, otherwise it would have been 300 to 400,” he added.

For some of the grooms-to-be it had been a long wait, AFP notes.

“I’ve been waiting for this day for three years,” said Samiullah Zamani, a 23, http://lakbanhitam.com/ a farmer from Kabul province. “I can’t wait to see her.”

The Afghan grooms arrived on Monday for the mass wedding ceremony at a wedding hall in Kabul
Image caption,The Afghan grooms arrived on Monday for the mass wedding ceremony at a wedding hall in Kabul
Afghan grooms look on during a mass wedding ceremony at a wedding hall in Kabul
Image caption,The brides-to-be were kept out of sight in a separate wing – it was only after lunch they appeared, local media reported
Relatives of grooms and brides attended the mass wedding ceremony at the wedding hall in Kabul
Image caption,Relatives of grooms and brides attended the mass wedding ceremony at the wedding hall in Kabul
Afghan volunteers distribute flower bouquets to the grooms during a mass wedding ceremony at a wedding hall in Kabul

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