Category Archives: Wedding

Zaffa Wedding Procession

Marriage ceremonies in the Middle East are changing and taking on more Western traditions, but there are still many popular Middle Eastern traditions incorporated into weddings today. An important tradition, the Zaffa, is practiced throughout the Middle East and is one of the principal moments in the wedding celebration.

The Zaffa or “wedding march” announces that the wedding celebration is about to begin, much like how the wedding party walking down the aisle signals that the wedding is about to begin in Western culture.

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The Zaffa wedding march is extremely loud as the procession is filled with men playing bendir drums, mizmars, bagpipes and horns. Onlookers at a Zaffa may be surprised to see bagpipes in the march; however, but bagpipes originated in Egypt around 800 B.C.E.  Guests also add to the noise by making trills of joy (ululations), called zaghareets which are common in Middle Eastern celebrations, especially weddings.

What makes the Zaffa procession even more unique to the Middle Eastern culture are the Shamadan dancers who also join in the march. Shamadan dancers are belly dancers who balance candelabras on top of their heads as they dance.

No matter what the mixture between Western and Middle Eastern traditions is in weddings today, the Zaffa procession will continue to be the most memorable one marking not only the start of the wedding, but also the start of the bride and groom’s life together.

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For more information on providing entertainment and decor for your wedding, contact Zohar Productions at 800-658-0258 or visit www.zoharproductions.com.

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August 10, 2013 · 6:42 am

Moroccan Weddings

Family is the most significant aspect of the Moroccan culture, and family has more say in engaged couple’s future in Morocco than most other cultures. When a couple meets, both families must agree to and bless the marriage, as the wedding will mark the joining of the two families. Family is the primary focus throughout the event as the joining of the two families is an elaborate affair that is a central part of the culture.

Each region in Morocco has unique traditions for weddings, with preparations starting a week before the wedding. Women work in the kitchen preparing food, while the men prepare the venue.  The day before the wedding, the bride will take a trip to the hammam, a public bathhouse, with friends and family to relax and get ready for her wedding.

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After the hammam, the bride will have a henna party where she has elaborate henna designs put on her hands. Traditionally, the bride isn’t allowed to work until all the henna washes off her body, making the first few weeks of marriage more enjoyable.

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The day of the wedding is a frantic day as all the preparations are finalized. Most Moroccan weddings start at night, with guests arriving anywhere from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Guests gather around the table for dinner, then head to the dance floor while they wait for the couple. There is no set schedule in Moroccan weddings as things run at their own speed.

As the guests await the couple, the bride is in another house eating dinner with her closest family. When she is done, she is placed on a  raised throne carried by 4 men, called an Amariah, and paraded into the wedding venue. Her close family, loud trumpets, and huge baskets of flowers usually follow her.

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Sometimes the bride does not arrive at the party until midnight. When she arrives, she is shown off to all the guests and then seated on a throne. The groom also arrives around the same time, sometimes carried in on an Amariah like the bride, and is seated on a throne next to his bride.

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In recent years, brides have been arriving in white, western style dresses and will change into more traditional clothes, called kaftans or takchitas , later in the night.

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The party lasts all night with much dancing and eating. The bride and groom spend the night sitting upon their thrones, dancing and speaking with their guests. When the sun rises, the couple is sent off with merriment, and the guests crawl into their beds, exhausted from the celebration.

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For more information on providing entertainment and decor for your wedding, contact Zohar Productions at 800-658-0258 or visit www.zoharproductions.com.

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