Ray Medhora would be a good catch in any community.
He is 27, handsome, a former Sunday school teacher and a family counsellor.
Happy families: Zoroastrians Ray Medhora and Binaifer Doodha at their pre-wedding celebration in St Ives on Thursday.
Mr Medhora is also one of 2541 Zoroastrians in Australia, slightly ahead of Satanists with 2454 followers, according to the latest census of religions, conducted in 2011.
As a member of, arguably, the world’s oldest and first religion to believe in one god – and one of the smallest in existence – there were great hopes that Mr Medhora would marry another Zoroastrian.
On Saturday, he will marry Binaifer Doodha, another Zoroastrian and an equally good catch, at a ceremony in Annangrove.
When Mr Medhora announced he was marrying Ms Doodha, his mother and aunt punched the air in celebration and let out loud whoops that stopped the busy yum cha service at the restaurant where the family was eating last Mother’s Day.
Although the religion’s motto is ”good thoughts, good words and good deeds”, and it encourages moderation and tolerance, it does not approve of conversions or evangelism.
That means increased pressure on young people to marry within the religion.
As in many small communities, the families had known each other a long time, and Mr Medhora knew of Ms Doodha before meeting her in his late teens.
The couple dated on and off before breaking up. When they got back together, they dated secretly for several years, not wanting to get their families’ hopes up.
”I dated other girls … but I fell in love with Binaifer,” he said, adding that marrying another Zoroastrian made things ”easier”.
When the bride arrived at a traditional pre-wedding celebration at the groom’s family home in St Ives this week, she waited outside the front door until evil spirits were warded off by the traditional cracking of a coconut.
In a good omen, the coconut broke in one go, hitting the ground with a thwack.
Once inside, Ms Doodha went through a ritual that has been played out since 600 BC – when Zoroastrianism began in Persia – but interrupted now by the constant buzzing of iPhones.
Standing on a handmade wooden platform made, according to tradition, without nails and decorated with chalked stencils of fish, Ms Doodha was given money, jewellery and saris (many Zoroastrians come from India).
Mr Medhora’s father tried, and failed, to insert some new gold earrings in the bride’s ears, only to be rescued by Ms Doodha’s mother.
Watching the ceremony, Ms Doodha’s cousin Friya Kermani said her parents encouraged her to bring home a good Zoroastrian boy. When asked if she would try to oblige, Ms Kermani laughed.
”I think I’d better,” she said.