In Morocco, the wedding ceremony gives rise to great holidays, which can last from three days to a week and are more or less expensive depending on the means of the family, but still very visual, with beautiful clothes and jewelry. Indeed, Moroccan women still attend traditional weddings dressed in kaftan, a sort of long dress in silk, satin, chiffon, taffeta or other rich fabric, covered with a jacket sometimes open on the bottom of the dress, embroidered, sometimes sequined , all being held in place by a wide belt at the waist.
It's a beautiful sight for the eyes.
If there are of course regional specificities, we find almost the same type of rituals to accomplish.
The marriage is first concluded from the legal point of view by an act adoulaire, contract established by the "Adouls", which correspond to notaries, in the presence of witnesses. It can be signed the day before the wedding or a few days ago.
The day before the wedding, after the bride, in the company of women of her family, has purified herself in the hammam, the henna ceremony takes place. A specialist, the "hannaya", draws symbolic patterns on the bride's hands and feet, to bring him happiness and prosperity in his future life. The other participating women can also ask to be drawn these pretty arabesques, they are supposed to bring good luck.
Nowadays, in town, there is an increasing tendency to associate the fiance and his family to this holiday, usually at dinner time.
Before the wedding, the fiance is obliged to offer presents to his bride: Some are symbolic, like sugar, which represents a happy life, milk, purity or dates, water of orange flowers and henna. Also included are the engagement ring and the wedding ring. The others vary according to the means. You can find fabric coupons, kaftans, shoes, handbags, perfume. These gifts are arranged in very large trays of silver color, covered with a conical lid, the "téfors".
At the wedding that we attended with Mary, we were invited with our husbands, before the ceremony, to the groom's home, where, after drinking the welcome milk, we were installed in the women's room. We were shown these famous gifts on the téfors, among which were beautiful white, blue, red, green kaftans that the young wife wore during the ceremony.
- The Kaftans deposited on the Téfors at the entrance of the room -
The guests then go to the bride's home. Men are responsible for carrying the trays of gifts while dancing, accompanied by an orchestra that animates the entire neighborhood. It becomes really impossible for the neighborhood to ignore the event that is getting ready!
-The bearers of “Téfors “and dancers -
The actual festival takes place in a hotel, a "riad" (traditional Moroccan house, organized around a large interior patio), a village hall, in a tent near the home of the bride or in the parents' garden of one or the other young couple. At the end of the hall is a fairly tall platform, on which are placed two imposing seats where the bride and groom will sit, so that everyone can observe them.
On one side of the room, the musicians play and sing, an exhausting task, since many marriages end around 5am! Once the guests are placed at their table, the orchestra attacks the Andalusian music pieces or "châabi" according to the choice of the bride and groom.
The young bride arrives in the audience dressed in a white kaftan with matching jewels. She is sitting in a sedan chair, the "amariya", like her husband.
They go around the room accompanied by the music and, when they arrive near the platform, they come down from the amariya to sit, while the guests crowd around them to be photographed with them. .
The bride is surrounded by "Neggafates", conductors of the ceremony and guarantee scrupulous respect of the nuptial rites. They can be 4 to 5, under the direction of one of them.
- Women called “Neggafates” -
They take care of the bride by dressing her, the parent of the jewels that they lend her, make sure that the folds of the Kaftans always fall well for the photos, direct her in her gestures, minute the ceremony and the change of clothing. They may, however, sometimes have somewhat too directive manners as we have seen with Mary!
The bride periodically goes out to change herself. The second Kaftan is often green, always with necklaces, tiaras, earrings and matching bracelets.
The parade can continue up to seven different outfits in the evening.
Meanwhile, the guests are restoring themselves. Depending on the location, the bride and groom opted for a meal or a cocktail dinner. One does not drink alcohol, in the respect of the Moslem religion. Soft drinks (we are in a Muslim country) and delicious fresh juices (I remember succulent strawberry and grape juice) are served. If it's a meal, it usually includes a pastilla (very thin pastry sheets stuffed with a fricassee of pigeons or chicken, almonds, sugar and cinnamon, delicious dish that I encourage you to test if you have a good Moroccan restaurant near you!!), a tagine (stew of meat and vegetables served in a clay dish in the characteristic form) and fruit for dessert.
We wash our hands and ..... we throw ourselves on the food!
In some weddings, we eat in a traditional way, with the fingers, which is not obvious for neophytes who try by all means not to get dirty and taste in style! !
The mint tea ends the meal, accompanied by exquisite Moroccan pastries such as, among others, “gazelle horns”.
"Gazelle horns" pastrie
The Guests dance from time to time to the beat of the music, chat with each other and watch each other. The little children who take part in the festival move in wonderment over the music, which gives the impression to the poor strangers that we are to look ridiculous to try to dance as well as they!
The evening usually ends at around 5am, at sunrise and you have to go home avoiding the speeders and the many accidents of the night!.