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Afghans organize mass wedding ceremony to cut costs

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About fifty couples participated in a joint wedding, a practice gaining popularity in Afghanistan as a means to mitigate the steep expenses associated with traditional weddings in the economically challenged country.

According to AFP, the event unfolded in one of the many opulent wedding halls that dot Kabul, but the ceremony itself retained a relatively austere ambiance.

Since the resurgence of the Taliban in August 2021, weddings in Afghanistan have evolved into subdued affairs.

Dancing and music, deemed un-Islamic by the authorities, have been effectively prohibited.

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Near the City Star wedding hall close to the airport, approximately a hundred turbaned men, adorned in traditional shalwar kameez, gathered in groups— conspicuously, not a single woman was present.

Cars were embellished with green ribbons and red plastic roses arranged in heart shapes to convey the newlyweds.

Roohullah Rezayi, an 18-year-old groom, explained that the joint wedding was a financial necessity.

“A traditional wedding would have cost us at least 200,000 to 250,000 Afghanis ($2,800 to $3,600), but this time it will be between 10,000 and 15,000 Afghanis,” he said.

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Rezayi, belonging to the Hazara Shiite minority, barely earns 350 Afghanis per day through odd jobs.

Organized by the Selab Foundation, the event granted each couple donations amounting to $1,600—a substantial sum in one of the world’s poorest nations.

Additionally, couples received a cake, a kit containing toiletries, and household items like a carpet, blanket, and essential appliances to help them embark on married life.

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The ceremony, attended by hundreds of male guests wrapped in traditional patu shawls, unfolded in a spacious, chilly hall adorned with garlands.

An official from the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice delivered a speech, accompanied by Quranic recitations. While brides were initially kept out of sight, fully veiled women appeared after lunch.

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