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Durrani Empire
European influence in Afghanistan
Reign of King Amanullah
Nadir Shah and Zahir Shah
Daoud's Republic Afghansitan
Mohammad Najibullah
Afghanistan Govermnet
Loya Jirga
Political Parties and Leaders


   On account of conservatism and strict segregation of the sexes, marriages among Afghans are usually arranged by parents. The prospective bride and bridegroom have no part in the negotiations accept in the educated sections of society. Before their marriage the young couple seldom meets each other except possibly indecently. It is considered highly improper for a young man or woman to take the initiative in the matter of his or her marriage . a well-bred boy is expected to abide by the decisions of his parents in the matter of his marriage . Educated young man and woman are beginning to show an independent spirit in connection    with their marriages. Even among this class those who go against the wishes of their parents are few. The young couple’s confirmation is but formal, and if they have complaints, they are usually coaxed or bullied in to submission, it is rare that a marriage once fixed by the parents breaks up.

Infant and child marriage is uncommon. The usual age of marriage for males is 20 to 25 and for females from 18 to 22 years. Overtures may commence by a visit from the mother or aunt of the boy to the house of girl’s parents. The father of the girl is usually a proud person, difficult to approach; there are also professional matchmakers, mostly widows, who have easy access to womenfolk. They give wide publicity regarding the beauty and virtues of the girl. If the agreement is arrived at, the respective fathers of the bride and the bridegroom meet to discuss the final terms of the marriage. The amount of Mahar bride-wealth is settled. a day of betrothal is then fixed when sherbet and sweets are distributed to the guests and formal acceptance of engagement is announced . This ceremony is called Shirnikhori or Namzadi (sweet- taking or naming). The betrothal ceremony is more or less a solemnization of the forthcoming marriage contract.  In certain cases a written contract is drawn up, in others a promise by word of mouth is considered sufficient. Once the betrothal is performed, the parties   are expected to stick to the contract, but under extraordinary circumstances it can be broken. Usually after two or three months, the date of marriage is fixed. The marriage ceremony takes place in the house of the bride. The details differ according to localities, but the essentials or the same. The most important function in the marriage ceremony is Ainamassaf (the meeting at the mirror). The bride and the bridegroom sit side by side, both properly dressed and gaily decorated, the bride having a thin veil over her face. It is the occasion most appropriate for the bridegroom to meet his life-mate for the first time. Good manners require that even on this occasion the couple should not cast direct glances at each other ,  nor or they to steal a glance , but rather they should see each other’s faces reflected in a mirror placed before them . The girls of the boy’s family, who are in their best attire, make a happy circle around the bride and the bridegroom seated together on a raised platform. The couple first of all read a verse from the Holy Quran. Then the bridegroom offers some sweets to the bride. Two shy white hands with heena-red palms rise slowly to receive the offer. The womenfolk with their Daira (a round instrument of music resembling a tambourine) begin to sing and dance and move and a circle around the couple.

The song begins thus:

            O the groom is tall as a pine

            And the bride is bunch of roses,

            On her head is a golden shawl,

            On her chin is a beauty spot.

The nikah (wedding) ceremony is conducted late at night by the Imam of the mosque, who recites the marriage services in the presents of elders and respected people. The name is of the bride and bridegroom are repeated aloud, witnesses are produced and the permission of the bride and bridegroom obtained. Then the Imam reads a verse from the Qur’an and prays for the long life and happiness of the couple and declares them husband and wife. The bride is the taken to the bridegroom’s house in procession. On the way back, not only is there  the sound of gunfireand rockets , but bands of musicians lead the way , playing their instruments and beating their drums and loudly as they can. On entering the house,. The bridegroom, like the Aryans of olden days, leads his life-mate straight to the family health (naghare). She tastes of the sweet dish prepared for the occasion and thus becomes a Bona fide member of her husband’s family. More feasting and celebration ensue until late at night or even until dawn. Then finally all the womenfolk depart and the couple makes each other’s acquaintance for the first time.It is necessary to distinguish between the customs of the nomads, of the village and of the town dwellers. The whole body of ceremonies is called Arusi in Persian and Wadeh in Pashto, and the spouses are Damad or Zoom (bridegroom) and Arus or Naway (Bride). On the thirth day of marriage another feast is followed called Takht-jami, which is celebrates the treaty of friendship between the members of the two families.The adorning of the bride, the night is which her hands and feet are dyed with henna and her face made up, gives occasion for another day of feasting. The bride is led in a procession and ceremoniously placed on a throne; relatives and friends gather round her and offer her presents. The is called Runamai (Face showing). During these ceremonies the bride and the bridegroom are believed to be exposed to the attacks of the jinns and the danger of the evil eye. Various rites play a part to keep the couple immune from their injuries.




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