96 pages • 3 hours readSara Saedi
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Sara describes the cultural importance of weddings in Iranian society and that the failure to invite a relative to a wedding can cause a lifelong rift. In modern-day Iran, men and women are not allowed to celebrate in the same room, yet many break this law during weddings, as it is one of the few occasions where they can dress up, dance, and have a good time together. In the United States, too, formal attire and a lot of dancing at weddings is the norm.
In traditional wedding ceremonies, as Sara describes them, the bride and groom sit apart and face the sofreh aghd, the wedding altar. Women take turns holding a lace sheet over the couple and grind sweet sugar cubes on it, which symbolizes a sweet life. When the groom is asked if he will take the bride as his wife, he immediately answers yes; when asked the same question, the bride takes time to respond. This deliberation subverts traditional gender roles, giving the woman the power to decide what she wants in life. Sara notes, however, that this female empowerment is only temporary. For instance, during dinner parties, the women wash dishes while “the men dick around and play backgammon” (141).