- 10 years ago
- Wedding: November 2007
I read this article in the NY Times today: Big Weddings Bring Afghans Joy, and Debt. I was struck by how similar the situation is to the US! It made me wonder to what extent social pressure causes us in the US to overspend on unnecessary wedding opulence and to what extent US couple dig themselves into debt for their wedding.
Here are some interesting snippets:
KABUL, Afghanistan — On the afternoon before his wedding day this fall, Hamid was sitting in an empty teahouse worrying a glass of green tea between his fingers, his brow furrowed in concern.
He confessed to feeling a certain anxiety at seeing his bachelor’s independence slipping away. But something else was troubling him, as well: the cost of his wedding.
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Just change "debt collector" to "credit card bills" in this next snippet 🙂
“The unfair thing that is going on in Afghanistan is the competition,” said Haidia Paiman, 20, an engineering student at Balkh University in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. “In 70 percent of the cases, the woman’s family puts pressure on the boy to pay a lot of money.” A result, she said, can often be paralyzing debt — and an early, unwelcome visit by the debt collectors to the newlyweds’ new home.
Just like in the US the Afghan couple often taps their savings and then hit up the rich uncle for the balance!
Still, like most Afghan bridegrooms, Hamid had to empty his savings, borrow money and rely on the largess of an uncle.
At least at the end of the wedding night, the groom feels it was all worth it!
Asked how it felt to hand over the equivalent of 30 times his monthly salary, he replied: “It was good! I’m extremely happy!” The payment, he explained, allowed the marriage to happen.
“Only a memory is left,” he said. “A memory of happiness.”