Deema and Sayeh's wedding Nablus 24/25th Sept
24.09.2019 - 25.09.2019 28 °C
Our first experience of a Palestinian Wedding and we were so well looked after, both before and during the event, thank you Sayeh family and Deema.
The exchanging of vows etc has already been made at the engagement ceremony, as I understand it the wedding is a celebration and sealing of these vows.
The first part was a huge celebration at the Nablus Hyatt wedding halls, men and women celebrate in separate halls. This seemed a little strange to us because it was different to our usual experience, but you know what? It was excellent! It occurred to me that most of our social events in the UK are “couple oriented” this model was so much more inclusive. The women’s hall was great fun with women of all ages dancing and laughing from the toddlers to the great grannies! Steve said the men’s hall was less dancing and more chatting, he was taken on a guided car tour by Deema’s brother of the North mountain ( opposite Gerizim), they took some toddlers home for bedtime as well!
As I entered the women’s hall the all female line up of relatives welcomed me and showed me to a table where I found 2 more English women
Deema and Sayeh came through the entrance to traditional dancing (dabka) and drumming and then joined us in the women’s hall.
Wedding entrance https://youtu.be/sEbwmqKBuI8
Sayeh joins in! https://youtu.be/XGwegTx4Ggc
Everyone was in their finery, very sparkly! Many of the women relaxed the dress code and it took of Hijabs and long coats. For me I then find it easier to recall people, because as westerners we frequently refer to folks by their hair colour style etc.
Sayeh and Deema took the first dance then immediate family and then we were invited to join in. Smiles and welcoming hands and a few giggles as we tried to master the wrist and hand movements of middle eastern dancing. The cake was cut with a sword to accompanying indoor fireworks.
Later the women prepared for the men to enter the hall, some but not all, replacing hijabs etc. Once the men joined us Sayeh and Deema sat on the stage and were draped with presents (of gold and money) and photographs of friends and family groups were taken. More dancing, more photos and, of course, no alcohol. The bride and groom then left. The English resisted the urge to tie a tin can to the exhaust pipe!
The next day we all met at another venue, where folks sat in family and friendship groups. We ate Ouzi – rice almonds chicken etc and Palestinian deserts. Sayeh and Deema joined us, Deema wearing a different wedding dress, without the train etc. Then back to Sayeh’s family house for tea and deserts (more!). The bride and groom packed for their honeymoon
whilst we chatted and shared photos of grandchildren on our mobile phones, ever grateful that the family are such good English speakers! It was an honour to be invited and to share with the families at this special time.