Afghan couples downsize big fat weddings | Daily News


 

Afghan couples downsize big fat weddings

A shopkeeper displays a dress on a mannequin as he waits for customers during the government-imposed lockdown as a preventive measure against the coronavirus in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday.  - AFP
A shopkeeper displays a dress on a mannequin as he waits for customers during the government-imposed lockdown as a preventive measure against the coronavirus in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday. - AFP

AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan's coronavirus crisis has freed young couples in Kabul to consider something that once seemed unthinkable: downsizing their weddings.

Extravagant ceremonies with thousands of guests packed into huge halls serving multi-course feasts are a traditional rite of passage in the country.

Grooms can rack up tens of thousands of dollars in debt, while the opulent wedding halls and their suppliers have long been one of the capital's few economic bright spots. But with Kabul on lockdown as coronavirus cases rise, some people have pared down ceremonies that have been in the works for months.

“I have been engaged for the last two years and I was planning to get married in late March,” Latif Faramarz told AFP.

The 26-year-old law student had been preparing to spend around $15,000 and was expecting 1,200 guests but was forced to recalibrate after wedding halls were shuttered in March due to the pandemic. Faramarz drastically cut the guest list to 40 or 50 people and the cost to around $2,000. “I'm not excited about downsizing my wedding, they come only once in a lifetime, it's a joyous occasion. But I don't have a choice,” he said.

The saving has however opened up other ways for the couple to spend their money and Faramarz now plans to study abroad with his future wife.

“Education is the best tool to climb the ladder and become successful,” he said. Upending long-planned celebrations also means depriving Afghans -- particularly women -- of one of their few opportunities to celebrate en masse.

Despite staggering levels of poverty and decades of war, weddings continue to be grand, loud affairs.

Families and friends are crammed into segregated dining halls with occasional low-key dancing, while teams of stressed-out waiters ferry in mountains of food that is quickly devoured at the end of the night. Photographers swarm around the lucky couple as they enter the hall and pose with family. Women relish the chance to don layers of make-up and wear their finest dresses. - AFP


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