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!!!. .