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Egyptian wedding ceremony ...
You may ask why this article specially talks about Egyptian weddings. You may think that an Egyptian wedding is like any other wedding, but I can assure you that an Egyptian wedding is a very special historical ceremony
The ancient Egyptians were the first civilization to regard marriage as a legal relationship. Marriage in ancient Egypt was a religious imposition. The ancient Egyptian laws organized the marriage relationship and indicated all rights and duties for the couples. Many of the old marriage contracts have been found, and they were registered and signed by three officers. The ancient Egyptian laws gave the right of divorce to women as well as men, and the wife had great respect and a high degree of prestige.
Marriage in ancient Egyptians had an engagement period in order for the couple to become familiar with each other. The groom-to-be and his parents would go to the bride’s house and meet the head of the family. They would negotiate an agreement where the groom would pay a dowry and buy the bride a gift of precious stones or gold. On the day of the wedding there would be a great banquet where all the guests would eat, sing and dance. Then the bride and groom would be led to their home. Certain aspects of Egyptian weddings in urban cities are not unlike weddings anywhere in the world. The bride wears an ordinary bridal dress and the groom wears a black suit or a tuxedo. The ceremony starts with a car parade. The wedding car (as prestigious as possible) will be decorated with flowers and ribbons. Cars of both families move together in a noisy parade of continuous sounding of car horns to a wedding hall most often in a hotel. The honking is to announce that there is a wedding taking place. When the bride and groom reach the hotel they are received by a “Zaffa”. The Zaffa is another human parade of belly dancers and drummers surrounding the bride and groom, singing happy songs. The bride and groom will occasionally join in the dancing but the main aim is to walk as slowly as possible to the wedding hall. Some Zaffa’s will last an hour!
When the bride and groom finally reach their destination in the hall they sit in the “Kosha”. The Kosha usually consists of two comfortable seats in front of the guests where the bride and groom reign as though king and queen. As soon as the bride and groom are seated in the Kosha a rose sherbet drink is passed to the guests and all drink to their health.
Modern urban weddings are obviously affected by western traditions. This is not the case with rural areas of Egypt. In rural areas, after the Zaffa, the wedding ceremony will usually take place in a big clearing of land where a huge Arabic tent called the “Sewan” is set up. Entertainment includes a belly dancer or singer and sometimes both. Drinks are passed to guests and food comes in huge plates to be served to guests. The customary food is “Fattah” which is pieces of lamb meat embedded in rice and bread dipped in stew. The bride and groom will leave the wedding early but the guests continue the festivities.
Whether rural or urban, weddings reflect the image of the families that have come together. Both families show off their wealth to their wedding guests. From this, it would be concluded that Egyptian weddings are not just an announcement of marriage but also an announcement of the economic positions of the families.
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Arabeya Association is Arabic language school located in Egypt and with branches in Cairo and Giza. Our school specializes in intensive Arabic language and cross-cultural exchange programs with a variety of universities and institutions across the world.
Page Updated Last on: May 28, 2011