Afghan Marriage Traditions and Prevailing Laws

Afghan marriage traditions are family and community oriented affairs. The celebrations are three day long events. Everyone in the immediate family and the extended family is invited to the wedding. Friends of the family are also invited for the occasion. It requires a lot of planning and is often very expensive.
The Afghan marriage customs are also governed by marriage laws that are very strict and prescriptive.

The Laws that govern Afghan Marriages

Afghan marriage traditions allow girls of ten years of age or younger to get engaged, but not married. The marriage can take place only when they are sixteen.
The expenses of the bride from the date of the engagement will have to be borne by the groom’s family as per Afghan marriage traditions and customs.
Afghan women are not permitted to marry non Muslim men. However, Muslim men can marry non Muslim women of Christian and Jew faith. The marriage will only include the Nikah (marriage) ceremony. The Nikah will be performed and the court may also register the marriage.

Match in Afghan Marriage Traditions

The girl is plighted for marriage at the age of ten even though the actual wedding ceremony may take place when she turns sixteen.
The groom can be a first cousin. If no suitable first cousins are eligible, then the parents of the bride look further afield for a suitable groom.
The identification of a groom for the girl may be initiated by the women in the family. The women consult with other members of the family or community and identify the grooms who could be a suitable match for the girl. The age, looks, education background, his ability to support his wife and family background are taken into consideration while short-listing the possible grooms for the girl.
The women folk then hand over the task of finalizing the groom to the men folk in the family. The men then make enquiries about the character and general reputation of the groom and complete the process of selection.
The bride’s father then, communicates his family’s interest in the marriage between the children to the groom’s family. If the communication evokes interest in the groom’s family, a formal proposal of marriage is made by the latter to the father of the bride. When the proposal is formally accepted, the bride’s family will host a party to symbolize the acceptance and underline the fact that the expenses of the bride from date of engagement will be borne by the groom’s family.
If the boy has chosen his bride, he informs his family of his interest in marrying a particular girl. If the bride is of the same community, the father of the groom may make enquiries about the girl, her character, beauty and family background. If satisfied, he may send an elderly relative to the girl’s house with a proposal. If the proposal is acceptable to the girl’s parents, the time and date for the announcement of the match and celebration of the engagement is decided.
As a sign of happiness, sugar and sweets are distributed to the guests in small bags for take away.

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