Despite the infiltration of western lifestyles into the Moroccan society, many Moroccans still treasure centuries-old rituals of marriage. The marriage rituals are an elaborate process which is often filled with pomp and color from the beginning to the end. Although the rituals vary from one region to another, they share some common values which can tell a foreigner from a distance that, indeed, this is a manifestation of Moroccan culture.
Never be mistaken. Marriage is not a one-day event in Morocco. Rather, it is an elaborate process which begins at least a year before the actual celebrations take place on wedding day. The road to marriage starts with the prospective bride and groom knowing each other through preliminary meetings. During these meetings, the prospective groom and bride agree to become husband and wife through a formal process. The preliminary process does not end here. A simple agreement is signed in the presence of an Adoul (a Moroccan notary) and members of the two families as an affirmation of the commitment to get married.
Once the agreement is signed, the united families begin to discussions on how the wedding ceremony will be conducted. At the same time, the prospective husband is required to give gifts to the prospective groom. This is the period in which the man is expected to express love and care. Some of the gifts given include sugar, which symbolizes happy future life, or milk which is symbolic of purity. As you would expect, other gifts vary depending on the region, and these gifts may include dates, flowers, henna, jewelry, caftans, shoes, perfume, and handbags, among others. These gifts are presented in a large silver colored container, and a conical lid covers this container. These rituals continue up to three days before the wedding when the actual wedding preparations commence.
A Moroccan wedding begins (two days before the wedding day) with the ceremony of Hammam. Customs requires that the bride and her girlfriends within the lineage participate in the ceremony. Hammam is a ceremonial milk bath which is considered as an act of purification of the bride before marital life begins. Here, expect a lot of entertainment from the girls through song and ululations. The songs serenade the pride.
The next ceremony is the henna ritual. The Nekacha, a woman talented in decorating brides with henna, oversees the Henna ritual. During this event, symbolic motifs are drawn on the feet and hands of the bride to signify the start of a new life and also a sign of prosperity for the prospective couple. A lot of songs and dance also accompany this occasion. One can never be disappointed by lack of entrainment during this ritual. This ritual gives way for the wedding day.
The wedding day begins with song and dance as the case with many other rituals. Koranic verses are read, and some songs in praise of prophet Mohamed are performed. After guests have gathered in a large room as from around 9 pm, the bride arrives and, dressed in a white caftan with matching jewelry, sits on the on a large chair known as Amariya. Afterwards, four strong persons carry the chair around the wedding room for every guest to see the couple and wish them good luck. As traditional music is played, the couple descends from the Amariya. Music and dance continue into the night and dinner is served all night. The ceremony does not end here; throughout the week the newlyweds visit friends and relatives to show off gifts in addition to talking about the entire process of marriage.
As a I conclude, it is worth noting that Moroccan wedding rituals are elaborate events filled with pomp and color. Song and dance are common features in marriage ceremonies. After the prospective bride and groom agree to marry each other, major ceremonies precede the wedding are Hammam and henna. The entire process is a reflection of the rich customs and traditions of Morocco as a society, therefore offer an illuminating story for those new to the culture.
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