Thursday, 10 August 2017

Tunisian Wedding Traditions & Rituals

Manuel Meszarovits
Tunisian weddings are at least a three-day affair with often week-long celebrations involving hundreds of family and friends, some of whom stay in the groom and bride's family homes. Traditions vary from the north and south and between families – whatever happens it will be vibrant and filled with laughter.
Manuel Meszarovits

Over a period of time the bride would have been buying items to furnish her new home. One of the lead up days to the wedding party can include a day to display the bride's purchases, gifts and trousseau, indicating her readiness to live in her new home.
Manuel Meszarovits

The hammam visit is very important – the bride covered with the safsari (large shawl), together with her friends and family make their way walking along the street accompanied by music and singing and the all familiar zaghareed (ululating).
Manuel Meszarovits

Everyone knows a wedding is to take place. The ladies indulge in the steam and enjoy a massage in preparation for the henna evening. It is believed henna brings good luck and happiness so it is very important for Tunisian women to have a professional hennana create beautiful tattoos in readiness for the wedding celebration.
Manuel Meszarovits

That evening the groom often has a party with his male friends and family members either at his home or to a restaurant.

The following day, a procession of tooting cars leaves the groom's home and heads off to the bride's house accompanied by musicians playing the tabl and flute. The groom will bring gifts of perfume, clothes and beauty products for his bride. This is the time to sign the marriage contract – the bride will be wearing a white kaftan and the groom in the traditional jebba.
Manuel Meszarovits

After the signing the music and dancing begin, there is no volume control when it comes to Arabic music! The bride will change into a gold dress and dance to show off her henna. Dinner will be served and among other dishes will be delicious tarjine and spicy couscous.

It has been an action packed week with the culmination of the final party. The bride goes to the beauty salon and the groom has a session at the hammam and the barber with his friends. The bride may choose a white bridal dress or the traditional exotic Tunisian Arab wedding dress or a combination of both, with her changing during the evening. Whatever the outfit, it will be stunning and the female guests will be dressed in beautifully coloured gowns and decked with jewels.

The couple will spend the majority of the evening sitting on ornate chairs upon a stage, there will be a constant flow of guests for photos - this can go on for hours. Sweets, nuts, fruit juice and mint tea are offered to the guests. Women will ululate and the music, dancing and entertainment continues until the early hours of the morning. The honeymoon must be a welcome relief!

Written by Helen Schrader

*culled from www.aroosjoon.com

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