In western society, its been suggested that people are waiting till they get older, rather than younger, to get married.
But in Syria they start much younger. How young? What about three and five? I’m not making this up.
Three-year-old Hala and her five-year-old fiancee Khalid, an only child, have exchanged rings with the full support of both families, planning to marry in 10 years when she is 12 and he is 15.
The families insist the children are in love and want to marry.
Khalid’s father told Gulf News
I vowed to have my child engaged at the age of five if he was a boy and to marry him to a woman of his choice at the age of 15
Khalid, from the town of Horns, 180km north of Damascus, apparently fell in love with his bride-to-be within days of meeting her during a family trip to the port city of Latakia.
His father, Juma, claimed Khalid was so love-sick after parting from his young girlfriend that he refused to go back to his nursery unless little Hala came too.
We did not know what to do till my wife called Hala’s mother and asked her opinion about the case. She said her daughter had developed similar symptoms of loneliness and the family would be happy to see them engaged
Juma bought rings for the young ones and both families held a celebration in Latakia, even vowing to cover the education expenses of both children until they graduate from school.
We know that Khalid or Hala might change their mind in the future, but what we do know at this stage is that they are very happy and talk to each other everyday
According to Syria’s English-language Forward Magazine, Syrian marriages are traditionally arranged at an early age for both males and females. Once a boy turns 16, or when he reaches puberty, his female relatives begin searching for a suitable wife around the age of 12 or 13.
If prospects are limited, a matchmaker is hired and together they go knocking on the doors of nearby homes and asking:
Do you have girls for marriage