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