Wedding Customs in Morocco
By Hassan Bendouz
Morocco News Tribune
Agadir, Morocco— Just like in most Muslim countries, a typical traditional Moroccan wedding ceremony can take up to seven days. Morocco, as a very distinguished part of the North African mosaic, is marked by its rich, varied, and active traditions. As in other cultures of the world, a Moroccan wedding is a luxurious gala ceremony which is cherished and lived with great fun and festivity.
Deep in the old Moroccan wedding traditions, parents would play a very prominent role in choosing the bride for their son. The pre-wedding ceremonies include sending gifts to the bride. If the parents of the groom are pretty wealthy, they send golden jewelry, clothing, and perfumes for their son’s future partner.
An important ritual in the traditional pre-wedding ceremony comes when women and single female friends of the bride have a party, during which the latter performs a sort of a “milk bath” so that she gets “purified”.
Bride’s negaffa (female attendant) usually organizes the event. The female attendants, who are usually older married woman, to female friends and relatives, help to beautify the bride. They help her dress in a richly decorated wedding kaftan (usually white), embellish her with heavy jewelry, and darken her eyelids with kohl.
Often takes place the night before the wedding, henna Party is typically for the bride, women of the family, relatives and her friends. Bride’s hands are painted with sophisticated designs, which are usually floral and geometrical designs that are meant to send off evil spirits, bring good luck and increase fertility. With women singing, men beating drums, and young girls dancing, the groom and the bride are then lead to the bridal room.
In some places of Morocco, the bride has to display to the groom’s relatives and the wedding guests a spot of blood on a piece of clothing, usually bed linen, as a proof of the bride’s virginity.
On the wedding day, delicious food is prepared for the guests. In old times, the food is prepared in plenty to welcome and feed the unexpected guests, who might attend the ceremony with no invitation.
According to another Moroccan wedding habit, the wife would circle her new home three times before becoming the mistress of her new castle.
If we cast our memories back to our parents’ and ancestors’ way of getting married, we would notice the big changes that took place. In the old Moroccan culture, parents took charge of selecting a bride for the groom, but things are no longer the same nowadays.
At the present times, most of young people choose their own marriage partners by getting acquainted with them outside the family control. Some of these old Moroccan wedding cultures and customs have either completely disappeared, or still exist only in the remote rural areas.