Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Syrian wedding

Not so long ago I was invited to the wedding of one of my favorite colleagues, Rania. She is a very sweet girl, but facing the same issue as most Syrian girls – moving closer to 30!!! In her late 20s it was definitely time for her to get married and so she did.

The wedding party was women only. This is very common in Syria but a first time for me. The reason for the women only choice is based on religion. At these parties all women participating at the wedding can feel comfortable taking of their hijab (veil) and dress a little less modest that they would do normally. The bride can show her beautiful dress and the nice hair that must have taken hours to do. In order to make sure all 300 women at the party can see her from all angles three big screens were placed on the back wall and a camera crew (women only) would follow her around.

The bride spends most of the time on a podium dancing, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. Often the women dancing with her are single women hoping to make an impression on some of the older ladies attending in the quiet wish that one of them might be found suitable for a son and thereby the next one staring in the dance show that the wedding is centered around.

After a few hours of dancing and the dinner a sudden commotion starts. Rumours are spreading that the groom is on his way. Quickly, women start to cover up and not soon after the groom shows up – a bit nervous, but then again who wouldn’t be having to enter a room of 300 women all waiting to see you. He goes up to the bride and offers her a tray full of what seemed expensive jewelry. Together they exchange rings and dress up the bride with the jewelry. She then dances for him and then the wedding cake is cut. The whole thing projected onto the big screens so everyone can follow the festivities.
The wedding is over within 3 hours, everybody goes home and the bride and groom can now look forward to a happy life together – starting with a honeymoon in Thailand! At UNDP we can look forward to a future without Rania, since she now has taken on the position of full time wife!

As you can probably guess I was not able to take photos of the bride. However, I did get a few shots of the very impressive cake!!!

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