In the past few years, we have seen western countries modernizing the concept of marriage. If you feel nostalgic to experience the charm of old age wedding rituals and traditions, then you must attend a Middle Eastern wedding.
Middle Eastern culture is credited for introducing traditionally glamorous wedding ceremonies. You might find yourself in a fix with the variety of wedding rituals each country of this region offers. However, we guarantee you will be enamored with the culturally rich heritage of Lebanese and Syrian wedding ceremonies.
Being neighboring countries, Lebanon and Syria share a similar outlook toward marriage as they have the utmost respect and consider marriage as a cornerstone of society. Interestingly, both these cultures commemorate the sacred institute of marriage in different ways.
In short, it would be correct to say that pairs are made in heaven, but they are celebrated perfectly in a Lebanese or Syrian wedding ceremony.
Check out our article to find out more about the Lebanese and Syrian weddings’ authentic traditions and rituals.
For 6.8 million Lebanese people, marriage is the epitome of a happy and successful life, which is why they leave no stone unturned in celebrating this milestone.
Following are additional and meaningful traditions that bring vibrance, life, and fun to a Lebanese wedding ceremony:
A Lebanese wedding is incomplete without the famous henna party. Depending on the couple’s preferences, a henna party is celebrated lavishly, or it can be celebrated within the company of close family and friends.
In short, a henna party is all about food, dancing, and socializing. The highlight of this event is the application of henna on the pinkie fingers of the bride and groom. To make things more interesting, the guests then wrap the couple’s henna fingers with either gold or money.
Some couples prefer to celebrate this pre-wedding ceremony jointly, while others arrange it separately to spend quality time with their family and friends.
The best feature of this event signifies the expression of excitement and joy shown by each guest as they dance and entertain themselves with exceptional Arab dance moves.
Speaking of dances, your mind will be blown away by the exotic belly dances performed at a Lebanese wedding ceremony. While these dance numbers are meant to entertain guests, they also signify that the bride has reached the pinnacle of her beauty and youth.
Zaffe, a 14th-century tradition, is still practiced enthusiastically in almost every modern Lebanese wedding ceremony. The concept of Zaffe is not limited to wedding events, and it was originally used to welcome and escort political figures. However, in a marriage ceremony, this activity takes an entirely different shape.
It starts from the family homes of the bride and the groom as they are surrounded by loved ones accompanying them to the wedding hall. As the bride and groom take their initial steps toward a new journey, the joy of this moment is amplified with the energetic performances of Zaffe dancers.
Eventually, the couple makes a grand entrance to the hall with the Zaffe.
The guests get teary-eyed by witnessing the beauty of the scene as, for the first time, the couple walks together as man and wife.
On the wedding day, the groom and his family stop at the bride’s home on their way to the wedding hall. The groom’s family presents the bride with jewelry as a gift in front of everyone. The women of both families bless the bride by chanting their prayers and blessings for her. These chants are known as Zalghouta.
We don’t know about you, but at least 6.8 million Lebanese people think that a wedding celebration is incomplete without a wedding cake. Since a wedding marks the union and celebration of love, hence for the Lebanese, the wedding cake has to be majestic.
Lebanese wedding ceremonies are exemplary when it comes to presenting visually appealing cakes, with some cakes having a minimum of nine layers.
The Lebanese take their cakes and cake cutting ceremony very seriously, which is why it comes as no surprise that they will shun the use of a standard knife and cut the cake with an impressive sword.
The newly wedded couple holds a sword together and smoothly slices the cake, showing the world that they can override any obstacle that comes their way.
Syrian Wedding Traditions
Syria is an Islamic country, and around 80 percent of its population are Muslims. Contrary to the popular trend of other countries in the region, Syria is home to the largest Christian community of 12 percent.
These statistics reflect how adaptable the Syrian culture is and how it has become a fusion of the different traditions.
Following are some famous traditions found in Syrian weddings:
A Syrian Muslim wedding begins with an engagement ceremony. These engagement ceremonies are arranged and planned according to the traditional customs.
A contract is signed as a solemn promise to wed by the to-be groom and bride during the engagement ceremony. The agreement acts as a future covenant for both parties, and it indicates the amount of money that the bride will receive as a gift from the groom.
Syrian Christians have a completely different way of celebrating marriages. The wedding festivities begin with the groom’s hammam party.
The hammam party is a Syrian version of a bridal shower. However, the main difference is that the event is for the groom, and it is an actual shower party. Since it is a man-only event, hence only special friends and relatives of the groom are invited.
The groom’s friends start the event by gathering at his home and escorting him to the hammam. While the groom takes the last shower as a bachelor, his friends continue to celebrate the final hours of his bachelorhood by singing and dancing.
One might assume that a Syrian marriage is all about age-old tedious rituals, but the reality is a different spectrum.
Besides religious and cultural rituals, many fun activities magnify the joy of the event.
One such activity is called “Arada.” The Arada is a collection of songs sung and performed by the groom’s friends who lift him on their shoulders and parade him around the wedding hall.
Similarly, the couple’s excited and eligible single friends prick and pinch their knees and toes, believing that soon the universe will bless them with a loving life partner.
Syrian grooms like to make a grand entrance, and they do this by engaging in a mock sword fight. After the sword fight, the couple walks under two rows of men holding crossed swords. This ancient tradition marks the bravery and courage of the groom as he can show society that he can protect his bride.
Now, we are certain that you must also be looking forward to being a part of a Lebanese or a Syrian wedding. The best part is that these weddings will become a gateway for you to experience the depth and richness of the Middle Eastern culture. Thus, it is a glorious event you should seize as an opportunity to experience!