Being a society which has strong roots in centuries-old customs weddings in Afghanistan also is a traditional affair. Marriages are arranged by the families.
Then elderly members of the family arrange a marriage contract between the families. Then the male members of the family sit together and schedule the -E-Ne Khore party. It is the bride's family which usually pays for the party. It is organised before the wedding for the bride and groom to get to know each other.
It is the responsibility of the groom’s family to provide the bride’s family resources to purchase jewellery, clothes and other things for the bride. The groom should also provide household items to the bride and bear the wedding expenses. According to customs, if the groom couldn’t afford the expense then he should agree to live with the bride’s family to pay the debt.
The wedding is an elaborate affair in Afghanistan. A few days before the wedding a henna party is organised. The groom’s family will bring the henna. The bride will wear purple colour traditional Afghan clothes. The couple will be seated on a dais and the groom will apply henna on the bride’s hands and would cover it with a white cloth. Then the female members from both the sides would apply henna on the bride’s hands and feet.
What makes the function different from the rest of the world is that an Afghan bride will close her hands during the function and her future mother-in-law should open it. If the mother-in-law fails to open the bride’s hands the bride will be presented an expensive gift by the groom’s mother. Dancing is also an important part of the henna function.
Usually, Afghan weddings start about 6 in the evening and will last for hours. The groom usually travels on horseback which is decorated with colourful clothes. His family and friends will walk with him to the bride’s house. Musicians and dancers will also be part of the procession.
Traditionally the bride wears green clothes for the wedding. Green is believed to be a colour associated with prosperity and paradise. The ceremony starts with the couple exchanging vows in the presence of a religious head. As it is a family event only the close members of the family would participate in it. After the nikah, the bride changes into a white dress. The nikah is followed by a reception.
As the Afghan society is very conservative separate areas are arranged for the female and male members. After the dinner, the couple would walk towards the dais and a special song ‘asta burrow’, which means go slow, will be played. The couple will cut a wedding cake and it will be distributed among the guests.
The couple will then participate in a special custom in which they will be given a shawl and a mirror which is wrapped in a cloth. Both of them will be covered by the shawl and a Quran will be placed between them. They will have to unwrap the mirror and look at their reflection for the first time as a married couple. They then read the Quran.
At the end of the party, the bride will be taken to the groom’s house. Before that, the bride’s brother would tie a green cloth around her waist. On her arrival, a sheep or a goat is sacrificed. Another interesting element of the Afghan wedding is that once the bride enters her new home she will have to hammer a nail on the doorway to strengthen her bond with the new family.