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Exploring Dating, Relationships & Marriage in a Changing World

Why do many young Indian men face challenges in meeting a future wife in a country where the population reportedly exceeds a billion? Because of the trend in refusing traditional marriages. But there is an answer…

History in the (Match) Making…

India is unique with its customs and traditions and embraces a variety of cultures and a blend of religions that result in the lack of intermingling of classes in the Indian society. However, after India gained its independence, this view began transforming into a more united Indian identity. More mutual tolerance is expected among religious differences in modern India. Mahatma Gandhi has greatly contributed to the elimination of social differences between the classes in Indian society. Many Hindus, who make up the majority in India, have inter-married with Sikhs or other minorities such as Christians. As a result, religious differences are being put aside in favor of marriages based on love or other interests.

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Pakistan is a an Islamic country located in South Asia and the Greater Middle East and is a dazzling cultural haven. Within its borders, you’ll find a fusion of Muslim and Hindu culture in which the exotic flavors and fervor of both cultures intertwine and no more so than when it’s time to say “I do”.

Engaging Traditions

Once a Pakistani couple (and their families) have decided to marry, an intimate engagement ceremony known as mangni takes place in the presence of a few important members of the would-b-bride & grooms’ families. Prayer and blessings are recited for the couple and the wedding date is set. Weddings forming part of Pakistani marriages last 4 days and mangni is the last time a prospective groom gets to see his bride-to be’s face before the official wedding ceremony on day 3.

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Bahrain is a collection of tiny islands, like a necklace of precious gems strung between Qatar and Saudi Arabia that has existed almost since the dawn of time. Famed for being the financial centre of the Middle East and a trading post for Gulf Arabs and visitors from every far-flung corner of the globe, Bahrain is also one of the most liberal Arab countries. This fascinating and welcoming country fuses thriving modernity with rich and evocative history and is considered both meeting point and gateway to the Arabian Peninsula.

The native population is predominantly Muslim, made up of around 70% Shi’a and 30% Sunni who cohabit harmoniously with a small but significant spectrum of other faiths. Arabic is the official language and English is spoken widely.

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Let Music Be the Food of Love: Somali Dating

Almost all Somalis are Sunni Muslims and the religion is deeply rooted in society and behaviour. Pork, gambling, alcohol and receiving or paying any type of interest is forbidden, Somali women wear brightly coloured hijabs and only single sex couples shake hands.

Most Somalis have a strong sense of family and family ties and this acts as a safety net during difficult times. During Eid al Fitr (which marks the end of Ramadan), Somali families often get dressed up to go visit each other and wherever possible, donate to the poor.

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Single Life in Modern, Multicultural Turkey…

Turkey has well and truly earned its title as a Transcontinental Eurasian Nation. Bordered by 8 countries and uniting Asia, The Middle East and Europe, this land, which was once at the helm of the famous and feared Ottoman Empire, has long provided rich soil for many diverse cultures.

Turkey has a Muslim heart and soul. More than 99% percent of the population is Muslim, with the majority being Sunni, and just less than a quarter being Shia Alawi. Alawite Muslims also live in Adana, Hatay and Mersin.

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Canadian Arabs are one of the largest non-European ethnic groups in this enormous and peaceful country. In 2001, almost 350,000 people of Arab origin lived in Canada, representing 1.2% of the total Canadian population. The Lebanese are the largest group within the Arab-Canadian community, with the smallest communities being Algerian and Palestinian.

Many of Canada’s Arabs live on the eastern side of Canada, either in Ontario or Quebec, and more than half have settled in the capitals of these provinces: Montreal and Toronto. About half of Canada’s Arabs are Muslim while most of the other half belongs to a variety of Christian religious groups and relatively few state they have no religious affiliation.

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What Exactly is a TV Marriage?

“Shaadi Online” means “Marriage Online” in Urdu, and this popular Karachi-based prime-time TV show has already arranged scores of Pakistani marriages during its 6-year history.

The secret behind its success lies in its knack for respecting Pakistani and Muslim cultural tendencies that leave matchmaking singles to the family and community. Shaadi Online gives modern Pakistani singles them the opportunity to look outside the box, but to do so with their families’ backing, a little televised guidance and of course, a touch of glitz ‘n’ glamour.

What’s more (and here’s the clever bit) by using a computer database that contains thousands of singles, the show does its bit to break down the wealth and status barriers that are often crucial factors when it comes to scrutinizing a potential partner in Pakistani society – the kind of pressures prospective brides especially tend to come up against, when introduced to potential suitors.

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December was not a good month for Hamsarchat.com (no longer accessible). This popular Iranian Internet dating website that had chalked up over 1.6 million hits was banned for “promoting prostitution”, on the advice of leading Islamic clerics.

Self-titled “Iran’s most complete spouse-finding website”, Hamsarchat (literally: “spouse chat”) promised to connect members with “the closest person or persons to your standards” in return for a modest 25,000 Rial (about 2 Euro) fee. The company insists that its aim was to promote marriage rather than just “friend-finding”.

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Jordanians are taking matters of the heart into their own hands when it comes to looking for love. Matchmaking for a suitable mate has traditionally been a family affair in Jordan. These days, the nation’s intrepid young love-seekers are now entrusting their amorous endeavours to external marriage-brokering agencies, such as The Covenant Marriage Agency in Irbid, a traditionally conservative Jordanian city about an hour north of Amman.

There’s a great online radio programme on this agency at NPR.org. Sparsely furnished and overlooking a busy square, the agency’s office is doing a roaring trade in helping single Jordanians in their quest for love. [click to continue…]

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An unusual and eye-catching poster is covering a major street wall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. So what’s it all about?

It’s an anti-smoking campaign, but this is no ordinary health-kick. Naqa (or Purity) is a non-governmental organization in Saudi Arabia specialized in providing the best tailored programs, in accordance to Islamic values and beliefs, with the purpose of helping you quit smoking. You are probably wondering what this foundation has to do with marriage. I promise you the answer will come soon, but first, allow me to provide you with some quick facts about smoking and marriage in Saudi Arabia.

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