Friday, April 16, 2010

الف مبروك يا عريس! / A Saudi (Jeddawi) Wedding

One thousand congratulations to my friend who was just married! Last night, I had what may have been a once-in-a-lifetime chance to attend a Jeddah-style Saudi wedding. Pictured above are the groom (Arees) his father and grandfather as they began the festivities.

All of my Saudi friends insisted that Jeddawi (people form Jeddah) weddings were more fun than other weddings because they are so lively (at least on the men's side, I have no idea what the women were doing the whole time.) In this picture, the father (left), son (right), and two grandfathers (I think...) are dancing with swords. The old man in white looks was having a great time!

In Jeddah, as in all of Saudi Arabia and much of the Middle East, the culture of keeping men and women separated extends even to weddings. The men danced and celebrated with the groom from 9:00 pm to midnight while the women, unseen by us, were celebrating in kind in another large room. Rumor has it that when the men are away they take off their Abayas and wear the most beautiful and colorful dresses, but I cannot confirm this from my personal experience.

I don't know what the meaning of this tradition is, but it seemed important so I took a snapshot. Again, more smiling and more dancing.

The food was excellent of course! Lamb and rice is typical Saudi style and the tender, juicy meat was cooked to perfection. Notice that there are only three spoons at a table sitting eight people. Use your hands, silly American!

After the meal, the water stopped running in the bathrooms for a while (local pressure drop), leaving dozens of guests standing around awkwardly with rice dripping from their fingers. We were in Jeddah!

The band, pictured here, also doubled as a pep squad to keep everyone excited and involved in the festivities. I got pulled into the dancing more than once - they wanted to be sure that I, an obvious foreigner, felt completely included in the celebration.

I have never danced with men before, and I still have some natural American tenancies to shy away from these kind of things. But, in the interest of heightening my cultural awareness, making new friends, and having loads of fun, I overcame these cultural barriers. Shookran shebab!


  1. first of all I want to thank you very much for your kind English report (as I name it)for Saudi wedding parties especially in western region of KSA. This Style of celebration is common for 4 cities is Hijaz area(the popular name of western region). These cities are Makkah, Jeddah, Taif and Madienah. I hope that you enjoyed our traditional dancing and singing without women. :)
    This is a link for a Saudi song for a Saudi singer his name is (Qussai) described allot of things about our wedding program in mixed Arabic and English Languages.

    One thing else, I can guarantee for you that our women are wearing the most expensive dresses over the the world and unfortunately we can not see them.
    Thank you again.
    Siraj Allaf - Makkah

  2. I loved your pictures and report of the festivities. Next time you should wear the traditional garb yourself! Regarding the women's weddings I've been to - the first couple I attended, I was in awe of the spectacular evening gowns, the jewelry and shoes, the outrageous makeup and hairdos, the amazing food. But after that, the weddings all seem the same and are actually rather boring, especially with no men around! They seem very superficial to me, with women checking out all the others and passing judgment. And the weddings I've been to usually run from 11pm until about 5am, with food not being served until 3am - it's crazy! But then again, what else do the women here have to do?
    Glad you had a good time.

  3. الان تعرف علي افضل الانواع من صيانة وستنجهاوس الذي يوفر الاجهزه الكهربائية بمختلف الانواع والاشكال لتتناسب مع الجميع من صيانة وايت وستنجهاوس المتوفرة لخدمة وصيانة الاجهزه الكهربائية لجميع العملاء من خلال فريق عمل متخصص في توكيل وستنجهاوس لطلب خدمات الصيانة تواصل الان

  4. الان تعرف علي مهام مكافحة حشرات من خلال الشركة الفرنسية التي تعتبر الاولي في اعمال ابادة حشرات ويمكنك التعرف عليها الان من خلال فريق عمل متخصص في تلك المهام باقل اسعار شركات مكافحة حشرات بمصر التي توفر عليك الراحة التامة والتكاليف الباهظه .

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  6. تعرف الان علي اقوي العروض المتخصصة في اعمال الرعاية الصحية والنفسية للعملاء في دار مسنين بمدينة نصر متخصص في رعاية كبار السن وتوفير اليهم كل الاحتياجات الخاصة التي يمكنك الاعتماد عليهم في تلبيتها من خلال دار مسنين بالمعادي التي توفر فريق مشرفين متخصصين في الرعاية وتوفير فريق اطباء لتوفير الراحة التامه اليهم في دار مسنين بمصر الجديدة مع فريق من امهر الممرضين المتخصصين .

  7. يمكنك الان الاستعانة بفريق عمل شركه حراسات امنية لطلب خدمات التامين والحراسة علي ايدي فريق من امهر افراد الامن في مصر والذي يقوم بالعمل بكل كفائه وخبرة في شركه امن وحراسة بمصر في اي وقت تواصل معنا للتعرف علي المزيد .