Put them together in love and harmony
Hardly any event can compete with the Arab wedding – so amazing and fabulous it is! Astonishing Arab weddings have become real legends, and those who were lucky either to see them or even be invited to one of them, say that the popular belief about the oriental hospitality does not convey their festive atmosphere. Below we will “lift the veil” and welcome you to the Arab wedding.
Yes, you are welcome as anyone can be a guest at the male part of wedding party and share the excitement of the day with the groom. The female party is less democratic, though: the bride-to-be enjoys the day together with her mother, aunts and friends. These days, young people can depart from the customs, even if they have been brought up in the Islamic traditions. Yet, the basic principles are carefully observed.
First, hitba (marriage proposal) and engagement. They begin when the young man’s mother or elder sister visits the potential bride’s house to assess her family’s social status, welfare and morale. The second visit to the girl’s house usually means that she was approved of as a bride-to-be. Her eldest relative – usually her father – tells her the news. The young people read out the Fatiha (the first sura in the Quran), and from this moment on they are believed to be engaged before Allah and people. After that, the bride starts preparing for the wedding day and gets luxurious gifts from her groom and his family: silk kerchiefs and clothes, jewellery and sweets. To become even more beautiful and attractive, the girl applies various beauty tricks as well as Oriental medicine experience: spa procedures, oil body massage and skin care masks.
Second, wedding invitations. They do not look like the typical European cards with wedding rings and hearts printed on them. If the groom who bears all the wedding expenses is well-of, he will choose the invitations made of precious metals and decorated with gems. Such invitation cards will be able to bring back nice memories of the Arab wedding party for many years to come.
Third, the henna night – an incredibly beautiful ancient Islamic tradition which is currently becoming popular with young people of other faiths as well. Traditionally, the henna mix is applied the groom’s hands to decorate them with nice ornaments. The henna mix is also placed on the bride’s hands and feet with most delicate brushes. These ornaments signify her attractiveness, fortune and good health, and are believed to be able to bring good luck. Only the woman who is happily married is allowed to draw the henna ornaments on the bride’s skin. In addition, a special mirror is used which is also believed to be a symbol of love and welfare.
The wedding ceremony is usually held either in mosque or at home, with the Quran recommendations being carefully followed. The nikah (the matrimony contract) requires the bride’s acceptance and her parents’ (or guardians’) consent of the marriage. It also sates the size of the sadah – the groom’s gift to his future wife. The contract is concluded in the presence of two witnesses (Muslim males) who sign it together with the groom and the bride’s father. During the wedding party the bride wears fabulous clothes and is the real Queen of the day. A few hours after the festivities start, she comes to the male party and treats the quests with sweets and then sits down on a special throne. Exquisitely-dressed female quests and male quests wearing dishdasha (a traditional white garment) make the Arab wedding party look splendid! The Quran says that “when Allah’s servant gets married he has completed half of his religion” and these words of wisdom are undeniably true.