11 Feb 2016

Language is culture: Tunisian weddings

Every lesson in my 40 hours of learning Tunisian Arabic includes a bit of cultural information. In today’s lesson I learned about weddings. Can you believe it, weddings here are a four-day event!

Day one starts with preparation. The bride will put on henna, do other beauty treatments, and spread the word to the neighborhood of the impending wedding. She and the groom will sign the contract; either the man and his family come to her house or they go to the municipality.

On this day the bride Photo0527 (2)has a party for her family and puts on her first bit of henna.

The groom might have a small party for his family.

The groom prepares the house. He has to provide the furniture, TV, fridge, and stove. The bride must provide the dishes and cooking implements.

On day two the bride has a dinner and invites the groom’s family to her house and they party together in the evening.

The groom brings gifts (gold and henna) to the bride and eats a meal with her family (couscous, meat, Tunisian salad, and beverages). The bride’s family will often party until the wee hours of the morning. She’ll put on some more henna after the groom and his family have returned home.

When the groom returns home he’ll put on a little bit of henna, on his fingertips and a little on the palm.Photo0521

On day three they have dinner at the groom’s house. The bride will dress up very nicely, putting on makeup for the first time ever. She covers herself completely and waits for the groom to arrive and fetch her. The groom arrives some time in the afternoon with a camel that has a special carrying frame on top. After the camel has knelt down, the bride and a friend climb into the carrying frame and she is carried to her new house. At the house, there is a big reveal of the bride’s face, then they eat a meal and party into the night. The families return home and the bride and groom stay there together.

The last morning, the bride’s family comes to the bride and groom’s new house for tea. And the wedding is finished.

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