Monday in the Afghan capital, fifty couples exchanged vows in a joint ceremony, an increasingly prevalent initiative to alleviate the exorbitant expenses associated with traditional weddings in the impoverished nation. Afghans perform mass marriages to reduce expenses.
The matrimonial unions occurred in one of Kabul’s numerous extravagant wedding venues; however, the ceremony was relatively simple. Since the Taliban’s return in August 2021, marriages have been subdued affairs, with dancing and music being strictly prohibited because they are considered un-Islamic by the authorities.
There was not a single woman present. Approximately one hundred turbaned males dressed in traditional shalwar kameez engaged in group conversations in front of the City Star wedding hall near the airport. To convey the honeymooners away, they adorned automobiles with red plastic roses arranged in the shape of hearts and green ribbons.
A few hours before departing with his wife, 18-year-old Roohullah Rezayi stated that he could not afford a solitary wedding. “A traditional wedding would have cost between $2,800 and $3,600 (approximately 200,000 to 250,000 Afghanis), but this occasion will only require 10,000 to 15,000 Afghanis,” he explained.
The young man, from the province of Ghor and a member of the Hazara minority, earns less than 350 Afghanis per day performing odd tasks. “Had we not invited 35 members of our two families, the guest list would have increased to 300 to 400,” the newlywed explained while carrying a plastic flower from the breast pocket of his waistcoat over a white tunic.
The Selab Foundation, which organized the event, has contributed $1,600 to each couple, an enormous sum in one of the world’s poorest nations.
In addition, to begin their married life, they will depart with a cake, a kit containing shampoo, toothpaste, moisturizer, a carpet, a blanket, and a few domestic appliances.
The ceremony was witnessed by hundreds of male guests adorned with traditional patu shawls and seated in a large, chilly hall decorated with garlands.
A representative of the Ministry delivered a speech on the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, and Holy Quran recitations took place. However, the prospective brides were confined to a distinct wing to prevent journalists from approaching them.
Not until the women had finished lunch did they emerge wholly veiled. More significant, expensive wedding ceremonies in Afghanistan may include over a thousand visitors and exceed $20,000 in value. With the mass wedding on Monday, 600 couples submitted applications. The anticipation has been considerable for a subset of the fortunate selected individuals.