DHAKA (AFP) - A 19-year-old bride has challenged Bangladesh Muslim wedding tradition by taking a groom to her home to marry him, with the ceremony going viral on social media and sparking debate about women's rights in the conservative nation.
In what local media are describing as a first, Ms Khadiza Akter Khushi led hundreds of guests to the wedding ceremony at her groom Tariqul Islam's residence in the western rural district of Meherpur on Saturday (Sept 21), before taking him to her home.
It overturned a longstanding tradition where a groom kicks off the festivities by first going to the house of the bride.
"Yes, it is uncommon. But I did it so that other women can follow me," Ms Khushi told AFP on Sunday.
Mr Islam, 27, said the couple faced no resistance or criticism from families and friends.
"We did it as part of our efforts to end gender discrimination and to establish equal rights for women," he told AFP.
"I am sure our marriage will send a message that a woman can do whatever a man can."
Footage of their wedding went viral online, generating heated debate on social media.
The marriage also made national headlines in the Muslim majority country of 168 million people, where conservative values remain strong.
"Definitely it's a big news in our culture," Mr Sadaq Hasan wrote on the Bengali daily Prothom Alo's website, while others wrote "courageous women" and "I want to marry like this".
Others were highly critical, saying the wedding reflected badly on the couple and their families.
"Their families should be beaten with shoes," Mr Mohammad Abul Hasnat wrote on the website of television station Channel 24.