In times of war and economic depression, tradition often becomes more important than ever. So, with millions of citizens — mostly men — having fled Syria in the past five years, brides have decided to celebrate their weddings alone, in the absence of their fiances who fled war, conscription and economic hardship.
Groomless weddings are so common in parts of Syria now, it can be startling to attend a celebration with both partners in attendance. “I remember going to a wedding where the groom was actually there, and I sat and stared at him. It was so weird,” Qamishli college student Lava Ibrahim told The Wall Street Journal.
The otherwise lavish affairs sometimes lack just a single item — the cake. This is because in the Middle East, the tradition is for them to be so big they need to be cut with a ceremonial sword — a task of the groom.
The Journal describes just such a wedding that took place last September, in which 22-year-old Siwar celebrated marrying her Netherlands-based fiance, who fled Syria years earlier when he was called for mandatory draft in the Syrian army. While she forfeited a cake, Siwar still managed to produce photos of herself and her new husband, standing together in a park, by stitching images together on a computer. Nine months later, they have been reunited in Europe, and Siwar is hoping to retake a proper wedding photo, side-by-side.
Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.