I grew up with many cultural influences in my life as well as multiple religious influences. This blend of cultures an religions has been a blessing and part of my identity. It even because the pillars for planning my wedding and marriage.
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A little Background
I was raised in Wisconsin with the teachings of The Bahá’í Faith, the youngest of the world’s independent religions. Its founder, Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), is regarded by Bahá’ís as the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad. The central theme of Bahá’u’lláh’s message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society.
My upbringing in my predominantly all-white, Christian region of Wisconsin was complimented by the traditions of the Iranian culture–language, food and music. While there are too many things to write about the Iranian culture, let’s just say I came home from school once to find a slow-cooker full of sheep’s brain. No joke. So as you can imagine, growing up was a juggling act between regular kid problems and managing these cultural and religious differences.
Boy Meets Girl and then Get Married
Fast forward to college where I met my now husband. I wish our story was as simple as ‘Boy Meets Girl and then Get Married’, but it was not. Boy met girl. Boy dated girl. Boy and girl moved to opposite ends of the planet for a few years, then found one another again and got engaged. While the details of this almost decade-long relationship aren’t important, what is important is to acknowledge that I found the most Midwest guy who, incredibly enough, embraced my multi-layered identity so much that sometimes I think he’s more me than I am!
Marriage and Family Life
Our wedding was a mix of all the various parts of us: Iranian, American, Bahá’í and Catholic. We chose parts of each culture/religion and adapted it into what made our wedding ceremony uniquely us.
We chose to get married in front of a sofreh aghd, a traditional Iranian wedding spread. There are various items one can include as part of the sofreh aghd, which represent different things like fertility, health, wealth, love, etc.
We also incorporated another Iranian tradition which is calls for a piece of fabric to be held (by women) over the heads of the bride and groom. The tradition calls for happily married women to grind cones of sugar over the heads of the bride and groom in order to ‘shower them with sweetness’. (Don’t worry, the cloth was over our heads, so no sugar fell on us!)
Simple Vows and Ceremony
“We will all, verily, abide by the will of God.”
After that, in true American and Iranian style, we celebrated! There was food, a father-daughter/mother-groom dance, our first dance and of course an all-night dance party which included music from around the world.
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Have you been to a wedding that incorporated other cultural or religious elements?
If so, we want to hear your stories and see your pictures!
For more information about the Baha’i Faith, visit: www.bahai.org
(Italicized Content Adapted From Here.)