Muslim weddings are always full of age-old rituals and traditions which the couple has to follow both prior to and after the ceremony. Rich in customs, colors, music and food, these weddings will definitely enthrall any guest. Every Muslim wedding is different, with each family trying to incorporate its own tradition in the special day. For example, while some brides choose to don a traditional white dress, others like to deck up in sequined oriental clothes for their wedding. One ritual which is present in every single Muslim household, however, is the prayer session which is held right before the “Nikkah”, or marriage ceremony.
Indeed, Muslim weddings usually open with a plethora of rituals which are thought to bring prosperity, luck and joy to both the bride and the groom. So, read on to families yourself with the various pre-wedding rituals that usually accompany Muslim weddings.
In Pakistan, elderly male relatives often visit the groom to watch him take a purifying bath on the eve of the wedding. Brides on the other hand, are accompanied to the boathouse by female relatives. Wealthier families also hire a troop of dancers and musicians to serenade the bride during her ritual bath.
Egyptian Muslim brides usually take a bath in water drawn from the Nile prior to their wedding because this water is considered to be extremely purifying. In Saudi Arabia, a team of female relatives usually help the bride get ready for her special day by bathing and waxing her.
Like Hindu pre-wedding rituals, Muslim families also hold a “Mehndi” Party where the bride’s hands, arms and legs are adorned with henna. This is usually held among lavish celebrations where everyone dances to wedding-related songs. Instead of a band, elderly female relatives usually gather around to sing traditional and folkloric songs during the henna application. In Muslim cultures, henna is thought to bring good luck to the bride while protecting her from any evil eye. Not unlike the customary Western Bridal shower, guests often bring various presents of silk, food, jewelry and other ornaments for the bride.
The “Gae Halud” or Turmeric Ceremony
In some- but not all- Muslim families, a special Turmeric Ceremony is held either one day or a few hours before the wedding. Traditionally known as the “Gae Halud Ceremony”, this pre-wedding ritual opens with the groom’s mother sliding a single gold bracelet up the bride’s wrist to signify her acceptance in the family. Afterwards, the bride sits on an ornately decorated stage and various relatives line up to apply a touch of turmeric to her face. This particular spice is thought to purify and polish the skin, hence beautifying the bride for the big day. A sweet rice-based dessert is separately fed to both the bride and the groom after the ceremony.