The informant is my (not-blood-related) aunt, who married my uncle on my Dad’s side. She is from Iran, and moved to Canada a few years before marrying my uncle. They had a traditional Persian wedding.
My uncle and aunt were visiting us, and so I asked my aunt about a particular tradition I saw practiced at their wedding.
AN: “Ah, yes. At the wedding we grind sugar cones together and put it over the white sheet that’s held over the bride and groom’s head as a symbol of them having a sweet life together for the rest of their lives.”
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to ask many questions as it was a busy day, but the ritual seems in-line with many wedding rituals, in that it is good-spirited, and intended to bring joy and happiness to the newly wedded couple.
“Whenever someone gets married, it’s a tradition to eat almonds at the wedding so that the wife becomes fertile. I first saw this at the first Persian wedding that I went to when I was, like, eight years old. They put little bags of almonds underneath every single guest’s seat during the ceremony. At the end, when they marry each other, all the guests take out the almonds and eat them. Obviously, I was confused when it first happened, and my mom said, ‘Oh, you do this so the wife becomes pregnant.”
I was with friends when the informant offered this piece of information. We had been talking about how people our age (early 20s) are getting married very quickly, which then devolved into a conversation about weddings, both traditional and not. The informant learned about this custom, as outlined in the description, through weddings she celebrated with her own family, and she learned through observation.
I think small details like these within larger events or celebrations are very interesting. In high school, I learned a lot about fertility charms, such as the fertility goddesses made of stone. The act of eating almonds raises a lot of questions for me, questions aimed at wanting to know why almonds, why eat them, etc. I’ve not been to many weddings, but my first thought when I encountered this ideal was — what happens if someone is allergic to nuts?