Marriage in the Middle East
Table of contents
Marriage customs in the Middle East:
- Marriage customs in the Middle East are influenced by Islamic culture, as marriage does not take place without the consent of the bride and groom, and the rest of the details are agreed upon during the process, such as the dowry, which is the exclusive right of the bride, and usually these agreements are concluded in the presence of the families of both parties at the bride’s house, and at the wedding, lavish banquets are served to the guests.
- But Christian weddings in the Middle East are similar to weddings in the West.
- While in Iran, the Marriage Traditions in the Middle East remained the same as they were in the ancient Zoroastrian culture.
Marriage in Egypt:
- A person choses his partner through family or friends, or through direct acquaintance from study, work, etc
- The young man proposes by visiting the bride’s family, accompanied by his family or a member of his family.
- A date is set to arrange the marriage (qurat ul fatiha), and on this day an agreement is reached between the two parties on all the conditions of the marriage, such as the amount of money estimated for the dowry, and the value of the gold that the groom gives to his bride, or as it is called the bridal jewelry gift “shabka”.
- An agreement is also made to set the date for the engagement ceremony, which is the day when the bride is adorned with the jewelry that the groom presents to her in the presence of her family, relatives and friends, so the bride wears the engagement ring in her right hand, as well as the groom.
Organizing parties and weddings:
- After the agreed engagement period has passed, and each party is ready after finishing their preparations, such as the house and its belongings, a day is set for signing the marriage contract, and holding the Henna party and the wedding.
- The marriage contract is performed by an official marriage registrar, to document the marriage legitimately and legally. This is done at the bride’s house, official marriage registrar’ office, the mosque, or during the wedding ceremony itself, and the marriage registrar announces them to be husband and wife.
- Then, the Henna party, which is celebrated by both the groom and his bride in his own way, as commonly known, the bride celebrates with her friends and female relatives having fun for the next day.
- On the wedding day, both the groom and the bride go to beauty salons in order to prepare for this day, which is attended by all acquaintances and relatives from both parties. The bride wears the white dress and the groom wears the suit. Drinks and food are served to welcome the guests, who in turn present financial gifts to the newlyweds known as “Noqta”. It is common in weddings for the bride to throw her bouquet of roses to be picked up by one of the single girls who wish to marry, and the wedding ring is exchanged from the right hand to the left hand. there is a wedding dais in the celebration hall in which the newlyweds sit called (al kosha).
Marriage in Egyptian countryside:
The customs of marriage in the countryside are similar to the common marriage in Egypt in some aspects, but differ in others, the most important of which are:
- The young man may propose to the girl without seeing her before, he is proposing based on her lineage and the reputation of her family, and perhaps his mother goes to see her first and then he proposes.
- It is common in the countryside, that when the groom goes to see the bride and likes her, he leaves an amount of money or a piece of jewelry, which in turn the bride keeps if she agrees, or her family returns it if she refuses.
- Despite the simplicity of Egyptian countryside life, it is known that the most costly thing there is marriage preparations, especially those of the bride.
- When the bride’s belongings are transported to the marital home before the wedding, the bride’s family brag about the quantity and value of the items by putting them in cars and walking among the people until they reach the groom’s house, in which his relatives and neighbors are present at that time in order to watch and transport the items inside the house amid warm hospitality, hustle and ululations.
- The wedding day is not much different from the common wedding, except with the exaggeration of banquets, which usually consist of different types of cooked meat and served to all the guests.
Marriage in Gulf States
It is known that the Gulf states are the ones that stick the most to the conservative Islamic traditions in applying the rules and conditions of marriage, for example:
Marriage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
Marriage goes through a number of stages before the wedding.
- Marriage Proposal: The groom’s father or one of his older male relatives goes to visit the bride’s father or one of her older male relatives to propose to her, and when they approve they recite Surah (Al-Fatiha) for blessing.
- Legitimate sighting: This tradition takes place after the approval of the marriage, in which the groom sees his bride for the first time in the presence of the members of the two families before proceeding with the rest of the marriage details.
- Dowry: The dowry is agreed upon in one of the newlyweds’ homes, the mosque, or court.
- Marriage Contract Signing: The imam delivers a short sermon about marriage, and fills out official documents at the home of one of the newlyweds, the mosque, or the court.
- Bridal jewelry gift or families meeting: A celebration in which the two families meet, and the groom presents the agreed-upon dowry, the engagement ring, and gifts to the bride. The goal of this celebration is also to agree on and announce the dates of the upcoming events.
- Ghamra or Henna party: The bride wears a traditional embroidered dress, and the groom wears the traditional Saudi dress. In the past, the bride held a small henna ceremony, but now it has become one of the expensive things that resemble bachelorette parties, and the ceremony is attended by her friends and female relatives, and the bride and her friends decorate their hands and their legs with henna, and the groom also holds his own party in the presence of his friends and relatives.
- Wedding Ceremony :The wedding is celebrated in two separate halls, one for men and the other for women, and the ceremony witnesses drumming and traditional sword dances. In the middle or at the end of the ceremony, the newlyweds sit side by side, and they exchange wedding rings from the right hand to the left hand, and the guests give them gifts that are cash gifts or jewelry.
Marriage in Syria:
- Marriage Proposal: The groom’s family goes to the girl’s family to propose to her, and they discuss marriage conditions such as the wedding date and dowry.
- Engagement: During the engagement ceremony, they sign the marriage contract, and the dowry agreed upon by the two families is mentioned.
- Henna party: This tradition takes place one day before the wedding ceremony, attended by family and relatives, and banquets are served amid celebration.
- Wedding food and dessert: A large number of traditional Syrian recipes are served to the guests, such as traditional almond dessert with sugar and other recipes.
- The ceremony ends with a number of relatives and friends joining the bride to her marital home with enthusiasm and joy.
Marriage in Palestine:
- Choosing the bride: Mostly the one who chooses is the mother or sister of the groom, in case he did not propose to one of his female relatives.
- Proposal: The groom’s mother goes to the bride and her mother to talk them into the matter, and wait for their response. If they agree, an appointment is set for the groom to come and meet the bride.
- Family seniors: they are the elders of the groom’s family who come to officially propose to the bride, and the official agreements are concluded on the dowry, gold, the house and the deferred dowry, and after the completion of the agreements, the day of the ceremony is determined, which is the day the dowry is paid to the bride, then sweets, soft drinks and plain coffee are presented as an official announcement for the wedding.
- Signing Marriage contract: The marriage official comes to the bride’s house, or the newlyweds go to the court to have the marriage contract signed before the Sharia judge.
- Samadah or engagement ceremony: The family and relatives are invited to announce the engagement and present the bridal jewelry gift
- wedding: On this day, the groom’s family presents banquets to the invitees as part of the marriage customs in the Middle East, then they go to pick the bride up from her family’s house with decorated cars.
Despite the different marriage customs in the Middle East, even the customs differ within countries, but what unites them is that they are societies that preserve the traditions of the Islamic religion.