Iranian Regime Promotes Mass Marriage

Tens of thousands of young couples start their married lives by taking part in group weddings in cities across Iran every year.
September 19, 2010
Group wedding ceremony in Qom province – in this case for the children of people killed or disabled in the Iran-Iraq war. (Photo: Mehdi Marizad, Fars News Agency)
Group wedding ceremony in Qom province – in this case for the children of people killed or disabled in the Iran-Iraq war. (Photo: Mehdi Marizad, Fars News Agency)
Couples outside the Masumeh shrine in Qom. (Photo: Mohammad Akhlaghi, Mehr News Agency)
Couples outside the Masumeh shrine in Qom. (Photo: Mohammad Akhlaghi, Mehr News Agency)
Iranian officials are trying to encourage young people to marry at a younger age. (Photo: Hossein Fatemi, Fars News Agency)
Iranian officials are trying to encourage young people to marry at a younger age. (Photo: Hossein Fatemi, Fars News Agency)
Brides and grooms waiting for the wedding ceremony to begin at the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad. (Photo: Ahmad Halabi-Saz, Fars News Agency)
Brides and grooms waiting for the wedding ceremony to begin at the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad. (Photo: Ahmad Halabi-Saz, Fars News Agency)
As the wedding rite is read, a family member drops sugar over the couple’s heads. (Photo: Mehdi Marizad, Fars News Agency)
As the wedding rite is read, a family member drops sugar over the couple’s heads. (Photo: Mehdi Marizad, Fars News Agency)
Table laid out for a group wedding in Qom. (Photo: Mohammad Akhlaghi, Mehr News Agency)
Table laid out for a group wedding in Qom. (Photo: Mohammad Akhlaghi, Mehr News Agency)
Newlyweds cut the wedding cake. (Photo: Mehdi Marizad, Fars News Agency)
Newlyweds cut the wedding cake. (Photo: Mehdi Marizad, Fars News Agency)
A groom feeds cake to his bride, symbolising future cooperation. (Photo: Mehdi Marizad, Fars News Agency)
A groom feeds cake to his bride, symbolising future cooperation. (Photo: Mehdi Marizad, Fars News Agency)
A bride and groom who both lost their fathers in the war with Iraq are photographed wearing their fathers’ headbands (Photo: Mehdi Marizad, Fars News Agency)
A bride and groom who both lost their fathers in the war with Iraq are photographed wearing their fathers’ headbands (Photo: Mehdi Marizad, Fars News Agency)
Young couples visit war graves, a common subject for photos at group weddings. (Photo: Mohammad Akhlaghi, Mehr News Agency)
Young couples visit war graves, a common subject for photos at group weddings. (Photo: Mohammad Akhlaghi, Mehr News Agency)
Traditional music. Celebrations at group weddings are more restrained than normal ones. (Photo: Unes Khani, Mehr News Agency)
Traditional music. Celebrations at group weddings are more restrained than normal ones. (Photo: Unes Khani, Mehr News Agency)
Officials present gifts to the newlyweds. In this case, the presents come from the Air Force University. (Photo: Hossein Fatemi, Fars News Agency)
Officials present gifts to the newlyweds. In this case, the presents come from the Air Force University. (Photo: Hossein Fatemi, Fars News Agency)
Newlyweds at the end of the ceremony. (Photo: Alireza Ezati, Fars News Agency)
Newlyweds at the end of the ceremony. (Photo: Alireza Ezati, Fars News Agency)
A groom places the ring on the bride’s finger at a group wedding in Qom. (Photo: Mohammad Akhlaghi, Mehr News Agency)
A groom places the ring on the bride’s finger at a group wedding in Qom. (Photo: Mohammad Akhlaghi, Mehr News Agency)

Mass weddings appeared in Iran in the mid-1990s, prompted by official concerns that people in urban areas were increasingly putting off getting married until they were older.

One reason for this trend was the sheer expense of holding a wedding, so joint events subsidised by the authorities were conceived as a way of softening the financial blow.

Mass weddings are generally held to coincide with important dates on the Islamic calendar, and commonly involve hundreds of people.

The costs are covered by various government institutions. One of the main funders is the office of the Supreme Leader’s representative for universities, which has a presence at all places of higher education, and which keeps a register of all students planning to marry.

Davud Ranjbaran, deputy to the Supreme Leader’s representative, says more than 47,000 students registered for group weddings in the last Iranian year.

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