Arabian Culture and Wedding Traditions
You will find that Arabian culture is clannish and the Arabian wedding traditions are closely associated with their religious and social beliefs. In majority of Arabian lands the wedding traditions are akin to Islamic marriage laws. However, generally speaking the Arabic marriage traditions are not very restrictive. It is even truer with the ancient Arabian wedding traditions.
Arabian Marriage Traditions and Laws
Arabian marriage laws permit the man to marry with four women and to maintain all his four wives if his financial and economic circumstances permit him to do so. However, in ancient Arabian culture there were no such restrictions on the number of marriages which a male could contract…
… the marriage was considered a social contract in the Arabian world even before dawn of Islam.
However, it was mandated that the man and woman should be at least ten years of age before they are married. The marriage was considered a contract between the families. In Islamic law the contract is not between families but between the marrying couples.
Divorces are rare and looked down upon as it disrupted the social fabric of the tribe. However, men can divorce their wives by merely saying “I divorce you” thrice in succession. The separation can then occur three months from the date of declaration of divorce by the husband. Male children were left with the father and female children with the mother.
Widow’s and cousin marriages are not problems in the Arabian culture.
Courtship and Marriage in the Arabian Culture
You must be aware that Arabian women were not allowed to meet males in their society voluntarily, even on social occasions. However, Arabian women can meet their grooms-to- be in the presence of their parents. Courtship if any must take place in the home of the bride or at some agreed location, and in the presence of elders. The families of the male and female announce engagement of the couple to all the invited relatives and friends. The bride and groom are dressed in similar colors and they exchange rings.
The Henna Ceremony
In Arabian culture, the henna ceremony has great significance in the Arabian weddings. During this ceremony all the female members of the bride’s and groom’s family meet in the home of the bride and decorate her hands and feet with henna. The women who participate in the function too, decorate their own hands and feet with henna.
The Marriage Ceremony
It is interesting to know that the Arab culture has fully influenced by the Islamic spirit of Muslim marriage jurisprudence. In Ancient times, the bride and the groom could meet at the altar. The eldest member of the family had to announce his acceptance of the proposal of marriage. In Islamic law, the bride and groom has to accept the terms of marriage. They need to agree verbally that they take the other as their husband or wife as the case may be. The ceremony begins at the mosque with the Sheikh or Immam speaking to the couple about the rights and duties of the man towards his wife. He is enjoined to treat his wife with honor and respect just as the prophet treated his wives with respect. Two witnesses, then, sign their names in the register as witnesses to the marriage.
The wedding is often followed by riotous celebration where music and dance dominate. Exotic food is served to the guest and wines are quaffed with gusto.
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