Every culture has their own set of marital traditions. The similar is true for Emiratis’. One thing, however, is for sure, that an Emirati wedding is never a dull affair.
The Grand and Magnificent Ceremony
Colossal Emirati weddings last for days with grandeur and opulence that is unmatched. The wedding usually lasts for a week and involves events like Laylat al Henna - a ceremony where the female friends of the bride enjoy a night of henna application, dancing and eating a magnificent feast. This is followed by the day of the wedding ceremony where the bride and the groom are bound religiously to each other through nikkah only in the presence of their families.
The evening of the ceremony involves men performing Alradhaand, women performing Zibha. The groom offers his bride the Addahbiya - a trousseau which could include jewels, expensive fabrics and perfumes and both are then left alone to spend time together. The groom and his family stay at the bride’s home for a week after which the bride is welcomed to the groom’s house with perfume and rose water.
For a wedding ceremony that lasts for a week, it is only expected that the expenditure has to be extravagant as well. The planning itself takes months and involves making arrangement around set themes to add to the elaboration. Big weddings in Emirati culture are considered a sign of wealth, prosperity and good fortune like in many other cultures around the world. Brides like to splurge on their wedding dresses and jewelry. Some brides go the extra mile and use their Mahr (money received by the bride from the groom when he asks for her hand in marriage) to get bedazzling gems or self-adornment.
Guests offer monetary wedding gifts to bride and groom called Nuphoor, however, gift-giving on the evening of the wedding is considered an offense as hosts expect the guests’ presence to be the ultimate gift.
Modernization of Emirati Weddings
With the entire world starting to be engulfed in modernization, Emiratis’ have not been left behind. With the modernization of a lot of things in their culture, the traditional wedding festivity has been modified as well. Not many people support it to be as lavish as a traditional Emirati wedding and rather choose to save money for their children and their education.
Many rituals have also gone obsolete with time and are no longer part of the contemporary Emirati wedding. In a traditional Emirati wedding, the groomsmen gathered around the bride’s house and sang the Alayyala which does not happen anymore. While the traditional Emirati father would not attend his daughter’s wedding as a sign of good luck, modern Emirati fathers attend their daughter’s weddings with enthusiasm and zeal. The modern Emirati bride has cast away the traditional colorful wedding dress and has adopted the white dress as her wedding gown. Themes like “winter wonderland” are also the creation of modernization of Emirati weddings.
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