So, let’s talk about Khastegari this time.
This is a meeting arranged for a suitor to go to the bride’s (-to-be) house with his parents and elders to ask for her hand in marriage. In older times, this quite possibly might have been the very first time the boy and the girl would meet each other. More and more, khastegari is a matter of formality for a couple who know and love each other, making this the occasion for their parents to meet and to receive their blessing for continuing on to the wedding plans. Of course it is not unheard of for families with marriage age girls to receive calls from mutual friends and family, inquiring about the girl and her family’s willingness to receive a khastegar, but blind khastegaris seem to be a dying trend among most Iranians in most big cities in Iran.
As can be expected, the girl’s home is usually put in immaculate shape for receiving such guests, specially if the couple are already in advanced stages of a relationship and this meeting is the kick-off to the actual wedding. Platters of sweets and fruits are arranged nicely in the reception room of Iranian homes, and the best china tea service of the household is made ready, for tea serves a very important purpose in khastegari!
At least one of the several servings of tea made during the khastegari ceremony is made by the bride-to-be. In the old days this was intended to let everyone catch a glimpse of the girl and for her to show her social and homemaking skills by balancing the full tea cups on the tray, while going from guest to guest and offering them their tea. Again, this is all moot these days and if the girl even makes the tea serving appearance, it is really a tongue-in-cheek gesture, paying homage to old traditions than anything else.
During khastegari, families of both sides ask each other general questions, trying to gage each other’s character and family values. Usually families take a few minutes to introduce themselves and their background in an attempt to ease the other into feeling comfortable and friendly. At the end of the usually short session which is typically arranged on an afternoon, the families bid each other goodbye and leave, postponing serious talks for another meeting particularly intended for those talks, called Shirini Khoran. I’ll talk about that next time.
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