A Guide to Planning a Persian Wedding: Sofreh Aghd Wedding Ceremony

Persian Wedding Ceremony Sofreh Aghd explained

There are two stages to a Persian Marriage in which most often both take place on the same day, or occasionally, there could be some time between the two. The first is called “Aghd,” which is the legal process of getting married, when the bride, groom and their guardians sign a marriage contract. The second stage is “Jashn-e Aroosi,” which is the wedding reception, which traditionally lasts from 3 to 7 days. The ceremony takes place in a specially decorated room with flowers and a beautifully decorated spread on the floor called “Sofreh Aghd.”

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Where does the ceremony take place?

By custom, Aghd normally takes place at the bride’s parents home. The arrival of the guests, who are to be witnesses to the marriage of the couple, initiates the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, the couples’ guardians and other elder close family members are present in the room to greet the guests and guide them to their seats.

After all of the guests are seated, the groom is the first to take his sea in the room as the head of the Sofreh Aghd. The bride comes afterwards and joins her groom as the head of the Sofreh Aghd. The groom always sits on the right hand side of the bride, as in Zoroastrian culture the right side symbolizes a place of respect.

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Where is the Sofreh Aghd set up?

Traditionally, Sofreh Aghd is set on the floor facing east, the direction of the sunrise. Consequently, when the bride and groom are seated at the head of Sofreh Aghd they will be facing “The Light.”

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What items are placed on Sofreh Aghd?

What is special about Sofrehs Aghd is the symbolic meaning of each item that is carefully crafted and displayed. There is a large mirror at the head of the Sofreh to bring light and brightness into the future. On each side of the mirror is a candelabra to symbolize fire and energy. Gold coins are displayed on the Sofreh to represent wealth and prosperity, and there is often a termeh, a traditional embroidered cloth that has been handed down from generation to generation to symbolize family and tradition.

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What food items are placed on Sofreh Aghd?

There is a variety of food and treats. A spice tray of seven herbs and spices to ward off evil, flatbread to bring prosperity to the couple, decorated eggs, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts to symbolize fertility. Rose water to perfume the air, crystalized sugar to bring about a sweet life for the newlyweds, and pastries to be shared with the guests after the ceremony.

What other traditions can be seen at a Persian Wedding?

Many Middle Eastern countries have their own sword dances, and Iran has its very own knife dance called Ragsheh Chagoo. The Ragsheh Chagoo is one of the many Persian traditions which gives families of the bride and groom an opportunity to show off with their money. The idea behind the dance is for the couple to retrieve a knife from the dancers so that they can cut the cake.

What happens during the Ragsheh Chagoo?

The dance begins with one person performing a typical Persian dance, holding a knife and asking the couple for money. The couple is expected to give money to the dancer in return for the knife. Once the dancer gets the money, he or she passes the knife on to the next dancer. Finally, the couple is given the knife with which they cut their wedding cake.