No one parties like a Moroccan

Posted on: July 13th, 2012 by Christopher Benson

It’s been a while since the wedding of my host sister but I have to talk about it and perhaps my forgetfulness will filter out the less important aspects.  There is no set pattern for a wedding in Morocco, but in our family the celebrations began days beforehand.  Relatives set up camp throughout the house and our host father led the adults in conversation and the children in games.

On Friday night the real ceremonies occurred.  This is called “Henna Night” and is when the bride and groom sign the marriage contract and are sung to with verses from the Quran.  Only close friends and family attended, and the bride was decorated in intricate and beautiful henna patterns for luck and extra beauty.

On Saturday we arrived at the wedding at six thirty at night and returned home at six in the morning.  No one parties like a Moroccan.  The ceremonies here were many but brief, and all seemed centered on flaunting the marriage as much as possible.  (Since the wedding I’ve even seen marriage processions in the streets.)  The bride enters carried in an Amariya, pictured here:

Throughout the night she wore five different dresses while parading around the main room or sitting at the wedding couch with her groom.  Four flat screen TVs and two cameramen ensured we missed nothing.  Somehow my host father and others managed to dance all night, while he also got Orion and I coffee so we wouldn’t embarrass him by falling asleep.  I can’t remember how many courses of food I had, but it was over seven.  Moroccans are usually rather austere, but I’ve never attended something as beautifully hedonistic as this wedding.  They aren’t decadent, but they know how to party, perhaps even more than two American college students, and they dance a child-like, visceral dance of pure happiness.

Traditional band

Host Father Said and Host Brother Hachmi lead the dancing.

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