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The Persian Jewish Wedding Customs


Like any Persian wedding, a Jewish Persian wedding is an extravagant affair marking one of the most important moments of one’s life. These lavish weddings are usually comprised of hundreds of guests and entail many traditions as well as incomparable partying!

The Persian Jewish wedding ceremony contains many interesting and significant rituals and symbolic gestures which not only bless the new couple’s union, but also represents the beauty of the unique institution of marriage.  While these customs vary among families, there are several common features consistent amongst them all.

Choosing a Date
The bride and groom should meet with their Rabbi shortly after they become engaged to select a date.  Although the wedding date is chosen by the bride, groom, and their respective families, it’s important to consult with a Rabbi prior to choosing a date since there are several days throughout the Jewish calendar which prohibit a wedding or other celebratory events.  The time of day for the wedding is left up to the couple. The five day work week has made Sundays the most popular day for a wedding, since Saturdays are the Holly Sabbath in the Jewish calendar.  Nonetheless, there are couples who decide to have their wedding on a Saturday night; these events may begin after sunset.     

Ketubah Signing
The Ketubah is the Jewish marriage contract detailing the husband’s responsibility for and to his new wife. The present day Ketubah includes a declaration of commitment made by the bride and groom, followed by a joint affirmation of the couples’ connection to God, Torah, and the Jewish people.  It is signed during a brief ceremony in which the bride, groom, close family and friends, rabbi, and two witnesses are in attendance.  Couples sometimes hire artists to create beautiful Ketubahs and then have the work of art matted, framed and hung in their homes. The Ketubah becomes the property of the bride after the wedding.  

The Wedding Ceremony
After the Ketubah signing ceremony is complete, the bride and groom are led by their parents and friends to the wedding ceremony.  A procession of friends and family precede the bride and groom as they walk down the aisle to the Khuppah.  The Khuppah is a canopy comprised of four poles and cloth, symbolizing the home that the couple will build together and where they will stand, with their parents and rabbi, for the duration of their wedding ceremony. Present day Khuppahs are elaborate works of art, containing an abundant amount of flowers, lighting, and decoration. The processional order is decided upon by the bride, groom, and their respective families but usually, the Rabbi walks first, followed by the bridal party, then the parents of the groom, the groom, and finally the parents of the bride, and lastly the bride.

Kiddushin and Sheva Brachot (Seven Blessings) 
The ceremony is typically conducted in English, Hebrew, and Farsi.  The Ketubah is read aloud by the rabbi and blessings are offered over the wine from which the couple sips. During this phase called the Kiddushin, the groom will place a ring on the bride’s right index finger; rendering them full-fledged husband and wife.  Some weddings have double ring ceremonies where the bride will also place a ring on the groom’s right index finger.  The Sheva brachot, or seven blessing, are recited in honor of the wedding and good wishes for the couple. The blessings may either be recited by the rabbi or divided among honored guests.

Breaking of the Glass
The breaking of the glass is perhaps the single most recognized feature of a Jewish wedding.  At this point a glass wrapped in cloth is placed on the floor and is shattered by the groom’s right foot.  There are many different explanations for this custom but the primary idea is that the glass is broken to commemorate and remember the destruction of the Holy Temple in Israel.  The sound of breaking glass signals to the guests to shout, “Mazal Tov” (congratulations) and signifies the conclusion of the ceremony. 

Yichud (Time spent Alone)
Yichud which means “togetherness” or “seclusion” in Hebrew, refers to the practice of leaving the bride and groom to be alone for 8 minutes after the ceremony is over.  During this much needed alone time, the couple retreats to a private chamber to spend some time together before joining their guests. Traditionally, newlyweds who have been fasting use this opportunity to eat a few bites of food and enjoy their first meal as husband and wife.  After this short time alone, the couple prepare to enter the reception as husband and wife.

The Hora

No Jewish wedding is complete without the Hora. The Hora, or the chair dance, is a major part of any Persian Jewish wedding. During this dance, a few of the strongest and bravest guests elevate the bride and groom above the crowd on their chairs while their friends and family dance around them in a circle.   

As you can see, the Persian Jewish wedding is full of intricate ceremonies and rituals, and requires a tremendous amount of planning. Therefore, the use of a knowledgeable wedding planner familiar with Persian Jewish ceremonies and customs is highly recommended.  Whether you’re the bride, groom or a guest, the Persian Jewish ceremony is one that will leave a lasting impression of love, family and tradition. So get ready for a fun filled night of traditional ceremonies and partying.  

Mazel Tov from Party Bravo!