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"Here Comes the Bride": The Making of a "Modern Traditional". Wedding in Western Culture*. DAWN H. CURRIE**. Changes in marriage and family dynamics.
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We use cookies on this site to store information on your device. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more about 'cookies'. Much of this generous track double album — from the opener Hold You Now, with its prenuptial vignette, through to Married in a Gold Rush — riffs on love, weddings and churches.

Koenig is now paired-up, the father of a young child and living in Los Angeles, not New York, the city with which Vampire Weekend are heavily associated. A few songs audibly ring these changes. That this record shares its name with a Steve Martin comedy remake is no accident. Koenig proves to be an unreliable narrator on that count, however. Hiding within these easy-going, often outright beautiful pieces of music are stories about floundering relationships, not successful ones.

There are moneylenders in the temple, and high anxiety at the state of the world; the angst of Modern Vampires of the City has not been expunged. Biblical imagery abounds; there is a gnashing of teeth over wealth, for example, on Rich Man. Getting a high bride price was a major reason given by parents for marrying their girls off young.

Other economic factors also counted, including giving girls in lieu of debts and exchanging girls, so that neither family had to pay the bride price. Article 28 of the law on the Elimination of Violence against Women states that those who force girls to marry under the age of 15 should be imprisoned for at least two years and the same article states that the marriage of an underage girl can be cancelled at the request of the girl. This is particularly true when the economies of entire families depend on underage marriages. Parents who chose to or are forced to marry off their underage daughters often ignore factors such as the age or any disabilities of the future son-in-law.

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Daughters might even get married off to men whom their families have never seen before. An AREU study on marriage practice in Afghanistan from cited the example of Aziza, a girl in her mid-teens who was married to a 60 years old man. Therefore I saw no other way out than to marry the old man who was willing to pay the bride price demanded by my family. As a result of the high prices for weddings, hundreds of young men have been forced to go to Iran, Pakistan, or the Gulf countries to find work, often under precarious conditions, to try to earn enough money to pay for their wedding and the bride price 4.

In summer , just before he was about to return to Afghanistan, he fell from the third floor of a building where he was working.

He suffered a broken neck and severe spinal cord injuries and had to spend most of his earned money on medical treatment. Young men who cannot go abroad to earn money try to find the necessary financial resources within Afghanistan. Most borrow money from relatives; others mortgage or sell land. In many cases, the families of brides are also willing to accept some of the bride price in kind through land titles, houses or cars.

In , Yar Muhammad from Mutakhan district in Paktika province transferred his 20 jeribs of farmland to his brother-in-law as payment for the negotiated 1,, Pakistani rupees 17, US dollars bride price.

Yar Muhammad was left with only a few jeribs of land to use as a source of livelihood. In some cases, the pressure to pay high bride prices has caused young men to commit suicide see a report of Mehwar Daily published in December , here. Similarly, depression and other psychological problems, family disputes, suicides and fleeing homes have been reported among those young men and women who were not able to get married because they were unable to meet the demands for the bride price see for example: here. In some cases, the bride price also results in women not being able to get married.


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This is viewed as shameful for the women, as is getting married at an old age. For example, Nasima name changed was 50 years old when she finally married a 60 year old widower in another village of Andar district. Life was so difficult for her that she said she would agree to marry anyone who asedk her, even if he had disabilities or was an old man. The widower, who married Nasima, had a daughter and three sons from his previous wife.

After a few weeks of marriage, life again became bitter for her.

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Historical examples of government efforts to regulate wedding costs and prohibit bride price. In the Marriage Law, expenditures for the wedding itself were limited, the mahr was fixed at 30 afghanis at the value from that time period and bride price was prohibited. The law was widely criticised by Islamic scholars who considered these reforms as intervening in their domain and curtailing their powers. The scholars accused King Amanullah Khan of endorsing laws that were contrary to Islamic law.

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Later legal initiatives, including those from , , and focused on limiting wedding costs, but without explicitly forbidding bride price. A law from states that the bride may not demand a bride price, but she can demand mahr. However, the , , and laws did prohibit bride price.

“For they say when you marry in June, you’re a bride all your life.”

In , communist President Nur Muhammad Taraki issued decree number seven, according to which the bride price for a young girl was set at only afghanis roughly an equivalent of 30, Afs now or about USD. The decree, however, was unevenly implemented and, was rejected by more conservative parts of society see here and here. Others, however, took advantage of the decree: officials and government supporters in rural areas harassed families with unmarried daughters, telling them that they were obliged to marry their daughters to them as they were offering the required Afghanis.

According to 55 year old Khudai Nur in Andar district of Ghazni, the parents who refused were threatened. These developments, related to decree number 7 and the behaviour of officials and government supporters, played an important role in convincing the population to rise up against the communist regime.

The anti-communists, for example, used the decree as one of their propaganda subjects to encourage the population to stand against the communist government see here. Religious leaders at the time said that the decree was un-Islamic because in Islam there is no specific amount of mahr; although a minimum is given, a maximum is not prescribed. Other examples from that time, however, also showed that communities were not opposed to regulation as long as they were consulted.


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For example, according to Mawlawi Muhammad Qasam, the head of a tribal shura in Sar Roza district of Paktika province, an agreement was made by local tribal elders in the post-communist period years ago to set bride price at 10, Afghani.