Saudi weddings are getting more social these days. Over the years, Saudi Arabian weddings are celebrated in certain restrictions. They didn’t share their traditions and private functions in past, but now the trends are changed there. They start sharing their traditions openly with other communities as well. Here are some glimpses of a splendid Saudi wedding, accompanying some old and contemporary rituals.
Shawfa – Unveiling ceremony
It’s basically an event in which both the families from the prospective groom and bride’s side meet up and talk about the proposal. ‘Shawfa’ means seeing each other. Once the boy and girl see each other, they further tell their parents if they are ready to tie a knot. If they strike to each other, the further meeting sessions are arranged. However, more religious families don’t follow this tradition. Repeated meetings can also be organized by both the sides in order to discuss further concerns related to the marriage.
Milkah/Nikah (Signing marriage contract)
This is a small scale event in which generally, very close relatives confirm their presence. In this ceremony, fathers of both the bride and groom along with two witnesses from each party signatures the marriage contract. Once both the bride and groom agree to enter to the relationship, the Mimlik recites few verses from the Holy Quran and says prophetical sayings about the importance of marriage. Later on, he prays for long lasting relationship, happiness, and prosperity of the couple. Also, he receives a fee in exchange of his services before leaving.
Shabka is an event which takes place on the same day of Milkah. The groom presents dowry, engagement ring and various jewels to the bride. The dowry is based on the financial status of the groom and it is paid in cash instead of accepting expensive gifts. Dowry is a non-negotiable gift from the groom’s side and paid off right after Milkah.
Khatub, Makhuti or Makhtubayn ( Betrothal)
In this event, all the dates of the wedding occasions are decided by both the families. Here, the objective is to fix and announce the dates of each occasion in a formal manner.
Ghumra or Haflat-Al-Henna
It is a traditional henna party which is arranged by all the friends of the bride. Beautiful henna designs are applied on the bride’s hand, wrist and feet. Also, other women present at the moment adorned their hands with some great patterns of henna. Generally, professional henna artists are invited to perform this old tradition.
Hiflat-Al-Zaffaf (Wedding day)
The wedding day is celebrated in two separate forms. The men’s party have done before the day of wedding whereas, women celebrate this event in a distinguished manner. In men’s party, traditional sword dances, and drumming increase the festivity in the environment, providing with real entertainment to all the guests. Moreover, a grand dinner including different delicious main courses, appetizers, sweets, and beverages is served to add more prominence to the event.
On the wedding day, when all the women are gathered to celebrate this big event, groom and his side joins the party. Here, all the women cover themselves to observe Pardah (veil). Groom takes pictures with his wife and then, the groom’s side leave to meet their relatives, where they arrange a separate gathering. Then, women remove their veils and enjoy dancing wholeheartedly. They embellish themselves with jewels and fill colors by practicing traditional Arabic dances. Later on, the groom’s side arrive to have dinner together. Also, they take part in cutting a brilliantly decorated wedding cake. The dinner is announced then. Roasted Lamb or baby Camel is served over the rice which is a traditional Saudi dish. Various other dishes are also the included in dinner, but roasted dishes are the main attractions of Saudi wedding dinner.
Weddings in Saudi Arabia lasts till late night from 10 pm to 4 am. Mix weddings are seen rare because of their reserve cultural values. With a lot of prayers, blessings, celebrations and joys, this wonderful event reaches to end.
It’s a post-wedding ritual and followed by all the newly married Saudi couples. Rich people usually go to European or American regions, whereas, middle class prefer to visit Egypt or Singapore. Couples from poor section celebrate their honeymoon within the state.
Saudi Arabian weddings represent the majesty of their rich cultural traditions. Although, they are conducted in bit reserve atmosphere, but there is no doubt that they are extremely lavish, well-decorated and properly organized.