Traditionally, a wedding dowry is some sort of nest egg given to the groom by his bride’s family on her wedding day. This isn’t technically for the groom; it’s for the bride to either help build her new family with, or as an emergency fund in case the bride is widowed. Generally, the dowry has a monetary value so it can fulfill either goal, but sometimes the dowry isn’t something as traditional as money. Other times, the dowry can be something wacky, such as the one million Facebook Likes for which Yemeni father-of-the-bride Salem Ayash has asked.
Ayash, a poet from the city of Taiz, may not be as completely ridiculous as he sounds. He reasons that no one in Yemen can afford a monetary dowry anymore, so he’s asking for a digital one. We’re surprised he didn’t ask for Bitcoins. The Facebook page has over 30,000 Likes, so there’s still a long way to go.
In Yemen, monetary dowries are still set by the fathers of brides, and traditionally, a marriage cannot take place until the ransom is met. Yemen has been attempting to set a maximum legal price for dowries in order to make weddings easier, as lowering the monetary ceiling would have the goal met more easily. Mass marriages have become more frequent in order to more easily meet a dowry price.
Comments on the father’s Facebook page have been mixed. Some users are happy that he has raised awareness for the issue of a monetary dowry, while others claim he is being selfish considering the required Facebook Likes are for his own page rather than his daughter’s. He did say that the one million Likes doesn’t need to be met, and he would be happy enough just seeing his daughter’s fiancé put in the effort. If so, they can be married, whether people Like him or not.