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Yousefi Family Collection, no. 4 - Yousefi Wedding, Traditional Persian Ceremony (2001)

Bahram Yousefi

Sound | 2001

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  •  Cones of crystallized sugar are ground on the wedding shawl, spreading sweet joy to the couple 
  •  The wedding spread for the couple 
  •  The marriage ceremony is performed Persian 
  •  The bride’s parents give their daughter away 
  •  The Persian clergyman explains Persian wedding customs 
  •  The clergyman asks for permission to ask for the bride and groom’s hands in marriage on their behalf 
  •  A passage is read from the Qu’ran 
  •  Pronouncement of marriage and exchange of honey from pinkies 
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This home movie captures scenes of the Yousefi family celebrating traditional Persian wedding customs at their daughter’s wedding in Addison, Texas. The bride and groom sit under a silk shawl held by family members in front of their wedding spread while the traditional ceremony is performed in both English and Persian.
During a Persian Wedding ceremonies, there are traditionally a number of items present.  A prayer rug is placed in front of the seated couple.  Above the couple, the unmarried friends of the bride hold a shawl, and a happily married woman grinds sugar cubes onto the shawl, spreading sweetness to the couple.  In front of the couple, there is a wedding spread which includes pastries, herbs, fruits, and symbols of fertility (in the form of decorated nuts or eggs).
Before the ceremony begins, the couple is seated facing a Mirror of Fate.  The bride is veiled, and they sit in such a way that when she pulls back her veil, the groom will see her in the mirror for the first time in the ceremony without the veil.
During the ceremony, the couple reads from either a holy text such as the Avesta, Qu’ran, Torah, or from a book of poetry such as Rumi.
After the ceremony, the couple dips their pinkies into a cup of honey and feeds the honey to each other.