Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/128

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caparisoned, is conducted to the habitation of her affianced husband by all her relations, marching in regular order to the sound of the same clamorous band which had escorted the presents. When alighted at the bridegroom's door, the lady is led to her future apartments within the house, accompanied by her female relations and waiting-maids. Her friends of the other sex meanwhile repair to those of the bridegroom, where all the male relations on both sides being assembled, the feasting and rejoicing recommences; with the drums and other musical instruments still playing the most conspicuous part. When the supper-feast is over, the blushing bride is conducted to the nuptial chamber, and there the impatient lover first beholds his love, and the marriage is consummated without farther ceremony. The bridegroom, not long after, returns to his party, and an ancient matron in waiting leads the lady back to her female friends. A prescribed time is allowed for both sets of relations to congratulate the young people on their union, after which they repair to the bridal chamber for the night, leaving their separate companies to keep up the revelry, which generally lasts for three days.

The marriage contract stipulates the settlement on the bride, of such jointure as may be agreed upon. It consists of a sum of money, proportionate to the fortune of the bridegroom, and other presents. If he is in middling circumstances, he presents her with two complete dresses, a ring, and a mirror. This jointure, called mihir or kavin, is destined for the support of the wife in case of divorce. The husband also supplies the requisite furniture, carpets, mats, culinary utensils, and other necessaries.

It would be deemed the greatest possible disgrace, to take back the bride after she has left her own home to go to the house of the bridegroom. When, therefore, the latter has promised a jointure beyond his means, a curious scene sometimes ensues. He shuts his door against the cavalcade, and declares that he will not have the girl unless the jointure be reduced to a certain sum. A negotiation takes place between the parties, and the matter is finally adjusted according to the wishes of the bridegroom.



The Persians inter their dead with the same ceremonies which are practised by other Mahometan nations.

Though religion forbids graves to be covered with any struc-