It was a cold day in late February, a Friday afternoon busy with homework and exams during high school.  My aunt had a “khaastegar” (translated to a suitor) that night!  Well, in Iran like many other countries, when a man is introduced to a girl or her family (either independently or through family or friends) and wants to formally meet the girl at her parents’ house, introduce himself and his intentions, and make sure that the girl’s family approve (before actually asking for her hand), a formal but very small gathering is arranged.  My aunt is still young and was much younger then (she’s only 9 years older than me) — she has been like my older sister.  I was afraid that she would like the guy and get married, to be honest.  I was afraid of losing her. The groom to be had come from the U.S., he had a Ph.D. in some type of engineering, and wanted to marry a beautiful and nice Iranian girl as soon as possible!  In this case, he had no idea who my aunt was and what she looked like.  He was simply introduced through a family friend.  My aunt was first resistant to the whole concept, but my grandmother convinced her that she should at least meet the guy and then decide.  Well, long story short, the khastegari session was arranged. 

My aunt being a modern girl did not like the traditional setting where the bride is supposed to bring tea and the groom’s family would check her out and make sure she knows how to serve tea, that she is beautiful and polite, that she is not too nervous, that she smells like roses, that she has a nice smile on her face, etc. etc.  As a result, I was charged with the task of bringing the tea instead of her, while she would sit politely and ask random questions.  I had no intention of doing a good job, because I simply did not want her to get married and leave.  I had also heard horrifying stories of what happens to girls who marry men who apparently came from somewhere in Europe or America pretending they were educated and led good lives, while they had faked everything and turned out to be crazy and abusive husbands.  I did not want to see my beloved aunt experience such a  horrific fate.  Therefore I was determined to do everything in my power to disappoint the groom to be.

[Story to be continued…]


Photo courtesy of Vista


1 Comment

Filed under culture, love, traditions, youth

One response to “khaastegar

  1. Manata

    Shideh jan,

    What a wonderful story! I can’t wait to hear more. I think khastegari is one of the biggest customs as well as one of the most cherished in Persian culture.

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