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Whether in Afghanistan or as ex-patriots in California, Amir and Baba (and the Taheri family as well) maintain their native cultural traditions whenever possible. They both believe in nang and namoos--defined as "pride" and "honor or dignity"--and this is one of the most powerful elements of Baba's character. Both Baba and General Taheri adhere to the Afghan courtship and wedding traditions. Baba asks permission from the general for Amir to begin his courtship of Soraya, and an escort is provided when they are alone. They follow the stages of the wedding process as best they can (Baba's illness forces them to forego the Shirini-khori--"Eating of the Sweets"). Unlike in America, where the bride's parents pay for the wedding, Baba observes Afghan tradition by spending most of his life's savings on the awroussi. Baba also bought the wedding bands and provided the traditional green suit for the nika ("swearing ceremony").
Baba's funeral was a traditional Muslim ceremony in nearby Hayward. A "mullah chanted surrahs from the Koran," and Amir sat near the door, according to custom. Women wore black, their heads covered in white hijabs.
Upon his return to Taliban-held Afghanistan, Amir was cautious to dress the part, wearing a long, fake beard in order to avoid attention. He also learned to never look the Taliban in the eye.
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