Best Sofreh Aghd Traditions and their Meanings
Although the model for Persian weddings dates as far back as the 6th century BCE, Persian American couples continue the exotic rituals out of respect, tradition, and fun. For newcomers to Persian weddings, like myself in Los Angeles, it may take more than a few invites to understand these traditions. To explain my favorite part, I've compiled the basics to the best Persian Wedding reception ritual in my opinion, the Sofreh. The Sofreh is essentially a table decorated with ornate objects and symbols of Persian culture with a spread of food, altogether called the Sofreye Aghd; aghd meaning the wedding reception. The most prominent object on the surface is the Mirror of Fate, aka the Aayeneh-ye Bakht. When the bride first appears before the groom, she unveils herself and the groom's first glance of her is through the mirror of fate, symbolizing the future he holds with his future wife. On either side of the Mirror of Fate are twin candelabras, representing the bride or groom and two important elements of Zoroastrianism, fire and light. Fire represents purity and energy, like the burning flames of newlyweds. Fire also produces light, which casts away darkness and the unknown, representing knowledge and hope for the bride and groom's future. To accompany the candles and mirror, stylish bowls of multicolored seeds and spices represent purification to keep the good vibes going: poppy seeds counter evil spells, salt blinds the evil eye, and frankincense burns evil spirits. Not to be outdone, Wild rice, angelica, nigella seeds finish the job of keeping away bad spirits. Not all items spread on the Sofreh represent the eternal struggle of good versus evil. Tokhm-eh-Morgh aka eggs, are often decorated elaborately and represent fertility. Similarly, shelled nuts serve the same purpose: Badoom, Gandom, and Gerdoo aka almonds, walnuts, and hazelnut symbolize abundance, which is probably why there are so many Starbucks in Los Angeles serving the same flavored drinks. There are pretty sweet traditions for the Sofreh that complete the ceremony. After the guests fill up on rock candy which symbolizes the sweet life, the most common finale for the bride and groom is dipping their pinky fingers in honey to represent a sweet future. While they probably will taste better with apples and pomegranate, which are on the Sofreh to symbolize joy and the divine fruit of the gods, for mere mortals, nothing is sweeter than honey on your honey.