Days of My Life

Talk about daily life of a teenage girl in Iraq, and days of suffering and success. My nick name will be Sunshine..

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Iraqi weddings ....

Hello friends, as I promised you in my previous post to write about the wedding's traditions here in the Arab land in general and specifically in Iraq.
Every country has it is own traditions and it is important to be enlightened about them before we judge.
I wanted to write about that because many people think that we have the arranged weddings, the kind that the guy sees his bride in their wedding day! I got a letter from a reader asking me if it is true, that was in the past 100 years ago.
Our weddings are similar to the others' except that we have more parties.
Every wedding starts with the engagement, the guy see a girl , then if they like each other, he asks for her hand (in other words to get marry) , she might be a relative , neighbor , cousin , they might be work mates, or students in the same collage etc . First he goes with his parents to hers, and tells them his desire to ask their daughter to get marry, (if the girl's father is dead, he should go to her eldest uncle).
The parents ask about the guy whether he is good, polite, co-operative, etc, in his work place or his collage, and they also ask about his family reputation.
Then after the agreement there is a tradition we call " Mashaya" in which the men ( specially the most solemn men) from both families get the chance to meet each other , to get the good impression about each other, you see the lineage of the family is very important here..

When the girl says "Yes", they buy the engagement rings, a golden one for the girl and a silvery or platinum one for the guy.

Then the engagement party (Khitooba) is the coming step, in this party the girl and the guy's close family members are usually invited, (the parents, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts and cousins). In this party they wear the rings, the fiancé also bring a golden gift to his fiancée, dinner will be served , music as DJ or a band is very important to celebrate this important event.
During the engagement time they begin to know each other more and more , and of course, they start shopping for their new house .
In these days, as the life is very expensive, it is not easy for the young men to buy a house, that is why they may live in his parents' house, they may build an apartment in the garden or as a second floor apartment.
Shopping includes buying clothes, jewelries, make-up stuffs, perfumes, the wedding "Nishan" and "Laylit al henna" party's dresses, they also look for house's necessities & furnishers ).
After that there is another party called " Nishan ", where the traditions are so much fun .
Anyway , the bride wear many dresses ( long time ago in Mosul the bride used to wear 7 dresses , but now they wear 3-5 depend on their financial condition , I didn't know that till my friend talked about her sister's Nishan and how they follow the old traditions and bought seven dresses , red , blue , off-white , black, yellow ,and purple I don't know what is the seventh colour ) , both families and the fiancé adduce golden jewels to the bride ,now days the life become more expensive that's why some bride's family comprehend the groom's financial condition , and not incommode him to bring much , only few grams , but there are still some families ask for very much gold, specially the Kurds , who adduce kilos of gold to the bride!!.
As they may make a heavy golden belt to her.
Nishan is like all the parties , there is music , dancing , then dinner , my mom's Nishan started at 10 pm till 2 am !! But now because of the stroll bans and the very bad situation, the Nishan party starts at 3 pm till 6!!!! In spite of the very hot weather , it's SUMMER for god sake.
What can people do ?
My relative "Noor" want to have her Nishan party in a celebration arena, because their house is too small , but they can't , it is not safe . My grandma told her that she is welcome to have her party in our large garden.
(Two years ago, we had Nishan party for my dad's cousin in our garden, I was the DG girl, I have many music CDs and it was a beautiful Nishan party).
Anyway after Nishan or before it there is al-Qiran, it is the lawful wedding.
In Qiran, the judge joins the two bridegrooms to be a husband and wife.
After the Qiran union, the new couple allocates candies in special cups to everybody they know, neighbors, relatives, friends, colleagues etc, to inform them about their union.
A night before the wedding day, there is "Lailat Al-henna" party in this day; one of their relatives put the privet in the newlywed's pinkie or palm. Some relatives may like to have privet in their hands too.
The bride's mother, aunt, or anyone close prepare the Henna's salver, they put green plant we call it" ace " , it really smells good, henna (means the privet) , and some candles , I love the salver's view . (The Shiite has different tradition in Qiran and lailat al henna, they put the seven whites, I wrote a post about that once).
Lilat al Henna is a small party , just like the engagement party , just for the new couple ,their parents , brothers and sisters , close friends and some time uncles and aunts .
After the Lailit al Henna the Wedding day comes (finally , huh ? ) ,it is just like yours , the bride wear her white dress , and the groom his new suit .they either bring a real band or DJ .the two couples dance as well as their friends and relatives, they make Dabka( special dance in my country) , then cake ceremony comes next, and in most of the weddings the bride get jewelries from her family , her husband and his family and from some close friends. Then dinner is served too.
After that the honey-moon starts, as there are no hotels in the last three years, they spend their honey moon in their apartment, or if they have money they go to the north or our side Iraq.
There is another party after the wedding called the Fourth-day (Arb3t Ayam) in Mosul ,and the seven-days (Sab3t Ayam) in Baghdad , it is not necessarily after four days nor seven days ,some times they make it after two weeks or a month .
In this party the bride dress her wedding dress and many other new dresses or her Nishan dresses, in this party, the guests bring the gifts.
Now we are done.
My friend "J" talked about her relative's wedding party:
"I went to D's house 2 days before her wedding day , to help them , in the wedding day , we went to a nearby salon in the morning , when a heavy shooting began , the bride was nervous, ,then we thanked god the shooting stopped , I didn't have my hair done , we wanted to got home as fast as we can , anyway we went to the house and D was about to cry , my mom and sister arrived , after they spent 2 hours stuck in the roads! we didn't tell D at all , the groom and his family didn't came at the exact time , we called them and they said that they were trying to find an open road , they couldn't because the neighborhood was sat dawn by the US troops , they found an open road before the stroll bans in about 30 minutes !! ( few months ago the situation was really bad that is why the stroll bans was at 8 pm) , we postponed the wedding for a week, imagine the bride's condition !! she kept crying all night long ".
in my country, the bride not just worry about her cloths and make-up only, she worry about the groom arrival in the exact time ( a life ) as well!!!. .
Sunshine.

32 Comments:

At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Jennifer said...

Hello Sunshine!
Good to hear from you again. The wedding celebrations sound fun. I have always wanted to attend one like that that last for days with all of the different celebrations.
Can't wait to hear from you again.
Take Care,
Jennifer :)

 
At 3:25 AM, Blogger olivebranch said...

Beautiful post my dear!!!! i will cross-post it to the olivebranch network! very valuable work :D

 
At 3:51 AM, Blogger olivebranch said...

oh there will be lots of new posts @ the OB network in the next few days (especially next week)- http://olivebranchoptimism.net

you still forgot to mention it at the bottom of the post *grrrrrrrrrrrr* !

you said you would being one of our writers and all :P

 
At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wedding

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger Michomeme said...

hi
thats soooo nice
u realy liked it sooo much
goog work girl

take care

micho from iraq

 
At 5:14 AM, Blogger jarvenpa said...

Sunshine, this is so interesting, and sounds like a lot of fun (with some very sensible things, like the serious people getting together early on). It is nice to think of celebrations, instead of all the sad things I am seeing in the news today. Thank you.

 
At 9:45 AM, Anonymous shaun said...

I read every post. I use you as my inspiration when I do not feel like doing my homework and I procrastinate. If you can keep up with your work in school, I should be ashamed of myself for not. I do not know how I could handle the world you are forced to exist in. I pray for you at least twice daily, and for everyone in Iraq.

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger ramzi said...

Hey Sunshine!

I guess Summer is wedding time around the world! But you said that the Dabka is special to Iraq only--we do it in the rest of the Arab world too silly girl :)

 
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At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Julie said...

I really enjoy reading your posts. I am very interested in your traditions and stuff. I know there has to be more to it then what is being highlighted in the newspapers.

I wish you a lot of luck. Your a really smart girl and I hope you keep on blogging.

 
At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Julie said...

I really enjoy reading your posts. I am very interested in your traditions and stuff. I know there has to be more to it then what is being highlighted in the newspapers.

I wish you a lot of luck. Your a really smart girl and I hope you keep on blogging.

 
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And Listen to musics

 
At 12:08 AM, Blogger Jay said...

Very nice post very informative about iraqi culture. Hope you and family are doing well! stay safe.

 
At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Body care said...

Hey There!.... I visited your blog while surfing around. Sweet, although you can make it ever better than it is!

 
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At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello miniature green house lover. I like your post and hope you do more. I will check back later. Please come and check out my blog at Greenhouse Resource .
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At 11:51 PM, Blogger Jenny said...

Hi! I'm a college girl from America--and I'm doing my thesis on weddings in different religions and cultures and I came accross your blog doing an internet search and found this post. If you have time I would really appreciate hearing more about your wedding traditions--you can email me here: jjj_jo@juno.com. Please do email me--and thanks for this great post!

Jenn

 
At 7:15 AM, Blogger Ibrahim Mohamed said...

Have a look at this similar web site. http://www.videobabylon.ca/iraqi_wedding_traditions.html

 
At 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an american who marry a gentleman from Iraq and I found your article to be very informative. Thank you for writing it

 
At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sunshine. This was really informative! There is not much on the web abour iraqi wedding traditions. Do Iraqis do the Sofreh (spread of certain items which represent different things) or is this an iranian tradition? I have been told it is Iraqi but on the web I can only find iranian ones, Thanks

 
At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sunshine. This was really informative! There is not much on the web abour iraqi wedding traditions. Do Iraqis do the Sofreh (spread of certain items which represent different things) or is this an iranian tradition? I have been told it is Iraqi but on the web I can only find iranian ones, Thanks

 
At 7:23 AM, Blogger Jackie said...

I just watched video of an Iraqi friend's wedding. When they groom, bride and friends and family arrived at the groom's parents home they performed a custom they called "killing the chicken". Where does this wedding custom come from and what does it mean?

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger Sunshine said...

Hello All, thanks for commenting..
Jackie, it's the first time i ever hear about this costume!! our weddings is very similar to weddings round the world, there are dancing, cake ceremonies, first dance as couples, etc..
Sunshine
.

 
At 2:41 AM, Blogger Jun said...

I've always been fascinated by the cultural beauty behind Middle Eastern weddings; I just love the lavish culture. It makes me want to have my own wedding in their tradition! So thank you for sharing this wonderful post! http://www.software-for-affiliates.com

 
At 2:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always been fascinated by the cultural behind Middle Eastern foods,clothes religion and life style. My father is an American Musulm my mother is a women of faith as well(American Catholic I take after my mother). I have a boyfriend who is from Baghdad,Iraq. I have learned so much from him and the Arabic life (and have changed myself and way of thinking).Yes, we have talked about getting married. "I don't know if he'll marrie me. I like the fact that a wedding to the Middle East world is a celebrations and not just a one day event like it is here in America.I hope I see one day first hand what an Musulm Middle Eastern Arabic Summer Wedding is like.If you have any tips from me I would love to here them.

 
At 1:53 AM, Blogger ..::|Sunny|::.. said...

I'm getting married next year Insha-Allah and since my father is a born and bred Iraqi (I've never been to Iraq yet) I want to bring an element of my heritage into my wedding, thus researching it and have come across your blog! Thank you xx I can't wait to attend a real Iraqi wedding one day.
P.s. my nickname is Sunshine too ;) maybe we have the same first name hehe

 

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