What are differences and similarities in the wedding in The Kite Runner and its cultural tradition?How does the wedding in The Kite Runner differ from a traditional wedding?

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karaejacobi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Presumably, you are asking how Amir and Soraya's wedding differs from traditional Afghani weddings. Amir and Soraya go through some of the conventional rituals and rites, but because of Baba's imminent death, the process is sped up to allow his participation.

When Baba is diagnosed with terminal cancer and decides to forego treatment, Amir asks him if he will discuss Amir's marriage to Soraya with the Taheris, the first step in the formal engagement process. Amir tells his father, "I want you to go khastegari. I want you to ask General Taheri for his daughter's hand" (161). The Farsi term khastegari means suitor, and in this case, Amir is asking for Baba to make Amir's interest in Soraya official by collecting the families and having Soraya's family approve of the match. Baba immediately calls and sets a meeting time with General Taheri and his wife Jamila. Baba goes to the house. Amir describes this action as Baba performing "one last fatherly duty" (163). He calls to tell Amir that the General has accepted, but Soraya wants to speak to Amir first. She comes clean about her past, when she ran away with an Afghan man without being married. This is considered shameful in Afghani culture, and in Afghanistan, it's probable that Soraya would never have found a suitor. However, Amir will not refuse to marry her because of it. He feels that he cannot judge anyone else's past, given the sins he has committed against Hassan.

Next, Amir and Baba participate in "lafz, the ceremony of 'giving word'" (166). After this ritual, Amir says, "Soraya's family would have thrown the engagement party...Then an engagement period would have followed, which would have lasted a few months. Then the wedding..." (169). Tragically, "Baba didn't have months to live," so the process goes much quicker. The couple does abide by the tradition of "never [going] out alone together while preparations for the wedding proceeded" (169). On the wedding day, many of the rites associated with Afghani marriage are maintained. For example, Amir says, "We did the Ayena Masshaf, where they gave us a mirror and threw a veil over our heads, so we'd be alone to gaze at each other's reflection" (171). The food is a traditional Afghani wedding spread, and a party follows the ceremony.

Amir and Soraya try to follow as much of Afghani tradition as possible in their courtship, engagement, and wedding ceremonies; however, because of Baba's terminal cancer, they cannot afford to take much time to complete all of the traditional rites.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Most of the ceremonies for Amir and Soraya were actual of a traditional nature. However, because of Baba's terminal cancer, it was decided that the couple would forego the engagement party: the Shirini-khori or "Eating of the Sweets" ceremony. Additionally, the engagement period--normally about two months--was canceled because of Baba's condition. Their parents provided them with the traditional lafz, the ceremony of "giving word" that announced the engagement. Unlike American weddings, where the father of the bride foots the bill, the Afghan wedding--the awroussi--was paid for by Baba (at a cost of $35,000). It was held in a "large Afghan banquet hall in Fremont," rented from one of Baba's old acquaintances from Kabul. It was complete with the traditional wedding song, the ahesta boro.

catherinemichel | Student

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