My cousin got married this weekend.
It was a beautiful, mostly traditional Persian wedding. It featured the softreh, an elaborate spread of items that represent wisdom, joy, happiness and everything one could hope for in a marriage. Her bridesmaids held a lovely piece of lace over the couple as they listened to the priestess (traditionally a priest) conduct the ceremony and married women rubbed two cones of sugar over them, ensuring a sweet partnership and life together.
There was the Persian knife dance, an event that brings a bit of levity to the party, where my young, single cousins danced with the knife the couple needed to cut their cake.
Of course, there was delicious Persian food and dancing to Persian pop music. Great party.
And in the midst of the celebration, another cousin of mine said that this will probably be the last traditional wedding in our family.
I denied it to myself quietly at first, but realized she might be right. I was watching our culture slowly fade right before my eyes.
What else could I expect? Not many of us younger cousins were born in Iran. And those who were have lived in the US or other countries most of their lives. Many of us date non-Persians. And really, it’s a beautiful thing. Our future generations will be fantastic combinations of culture and it’s something to be celebrated.
But at the same time, that piece of me, the cultural heritage I so treasure, that’s been wilting away for so long wilted just a little more. I will always be Persian, but a non-traditional one, and that means one less softreh haft-seen to be set at New Year, one less celebration of mehregan, one less shabeh yalda.
Soon these traditions will only be memories. Happy ones, but merely memories, nonetheless. And I feel a great sense of loss in that.