Australia Discreet marriage because of Covid in Afghanistan, land of mega-marriages

12:52  20 may  2020
12:52  20 may  2020 Source:   lepoint.fr

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  Epousailles discrètes pour cause de Covid en Afghanistan, pays des méga-mariages © Provided by Le Point

Decades of war and bloody attacks were ineffective but the new coronavirus did so: in Afghanistan , the pandemic force many married to be satisfied with an intimate ceremony, far from the grandiose marriages of rigor.

Sometimes thousands of guests crammed into huge wedding halls, these wedding halls having mushroomed all over the country, one of the rare sections of the Afghan economy to ignore the crisis. Food galore. Shimmering dresses and joyful dances for women. Male embraces on the male side.

In Afghanistan, weddings are one of the pillars of social life, and one of the rare events to bring the two genders together, even if they celebrate the moment in separate rooms.

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Neighbors, friends and distant acquaintances are invited. Spouses often go into debt for many years for the occasion.

But with the rise of the Covid-19, which infected more than 7,000 people in the country, with less than 200 dead, figures most likely underestimated due to the lack of screening and treatment capabilities, these XXL size weddings now seem to belong in the past.

Latif Faramarz, "engaged for two years", "intended to (get) married in late March," he told AFP . Some $ 15,000 had been budgeted to accommodate 1,200 guests at best. But the wedding halls closed in March due to the new coronavirus.

"Now I'm going to have a smaller party because of the threat of the virus," said the 26-year-old law student, who will only invite 40 to 50 relatives.

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The money saved will be spent usefully: Latif Faramarz wants to continue his studies abroad with his wife. "Education is the best tool for climbing the ladder and succeeding," he says.

'Broken Dreams'

Shir Ahmad - who asked to use a pseudo - wanted to "make an extravagant marriage, like (his) other brothers". "But my dreams were shattered by this virus," he laments.

The ceremony will probably take place in the family home, with 80 guests instead of a thousand. The money set aside will be given to the "poor in Kabul". "It is not worth it to organize a big party as I had wished," he reflects.

The stories of the genre multiply. The Covid-19 has consequences that even the bloody attacks on marriages, such as that of August 2019 in Kabul, which left more than 80 people dead, had not resulted.

The wedding industry is "suffering", regrets Nadir Qarghayee, who heads the Wedding Halls Union in the Afghan capital.

In this city of more than 5 million inhabitants, some 124 structures of this kind are listed, which employ nearly 15,000 people, he notes.

"It is a very hard economic blow for all the wedding halls. They have not worked for almost two months, but they continue to pay the rent and the salaries of the staff when they have no income, "says Qarghayee.

In the absence of wedding rooms, home unions remain the only solution. But they are targeted by the police, who strictly enforce the confinement of the city.

"The government could take action against us if we organize the ceremony and people gather," worries Ghulam Sarwar, who has been delaying his marriage for months. "I can party now, but I don't think anyone will come."

05/20/2020 08:46:30 AM - Kabul (AFP) - © 2020 AFP

Manu Payet as a couple: who is Pauline, his discreet companion? .
© DOMINIQUE JACOVIDES / BESTIMAGE Manu Payet as a couple: who is Pauline, his discreet companion? On everyone's menu in the kitchen on M6 this Friday, May 29 at 6:45 pm, Manu Payet. The humorist will attempt live to make the recipes of Cyril Lignac. Will he be helped by his partner Pauline? Not so sure, because the mother of her daughter is very discreet. This Friday, May 29 at 6:45 p.m. on M6, it's Manu Payet's turn to play the apprentice cooks.

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