Blogging from A to Z: S is for Sofreh Aghd

layoutFarukh kept his eyes shut for a moment as he held his breath. When he opened his eyes to look into the mirror of fate, he thought he had never seen anyone look so beautiful. She wore a white sheath dress, over which was tied a snug-fitting jacket covered in silver lace that then draped down over her skirt. Her veil, which hung to her knees, was secured by three silver chains across her forehead. It was a modern version of the traditional wedding dresses of his country, and his bride was beautiful in it. — From my novella, His Beloved Infidel


Traditional Sofreh Aghd/Shang Chen Photo

Sofreh aghd is a traditional Persian wedding.  Steeped in the traditions of Zoroastrianism, the ceremony sees the couple sitting on a settee in front of an array of specially prepared dishes that are consumed during the event.  For example, one of the dishes is a cup of honey into which the bride and groom dip their little fingers to feed each other, so that they will speak sweet words to one another.  Another is a pair of sugar cones, which are rubbed together onto a silk veil that is held over the couple, so that they will be covered in sweetness.

sThe spread also includes a candelabra and a mirror, representing the fire and light of life.  It is in that mirror, the “mirror of fate,” that a Persian bridegroom will see his bride in her wedding finery for the first time.

There are complicated marriage contracts on display, all of them describing the protections afforded to the bride in the event of the groom’s death, or a divorce.  There is also a book, usually the Quran, but it could be a special book of poetry as is the case in His Beloved Infidel.

The sofreh aghd is only the legal part of the marriage; there are parties that go on for weeks and months afterwards, with the newlyweds paying wedding calls on relatives. It is considered good luck for the families to host them.

7 thoughts on “Blogging from A to Z: S is for Sofreh Aghd

    1. The celebration can go on for the better part of a year if there are large numbers of family members living in the area. It is considered lucky to host the bride and groom, so even a modest dinner would count. I don’t know that anyone refuses to do it. My hairdresser is Persian, and I interviewed her to learn about some of the customs; she said it is not uncommon, when hosting a wedding dinner, to be cooking for upwards of 100 people.

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