Moroccan Wedding Customs
Morocco, one of the gems of the North Africa, is the country with very rich and active traditions. Like other cultures of the world, a Moroccan wedding is a great gala event. It’s celebrated with great fun and festivity.
A typically traditional Moroccan wedding process can take up to seven days. It begins with several pre-wedding ceremonies that take place before the actual wedding. According to the old Moroccan wedding traditions, parents would choose the bride for their son. The pre-wedding ceremonies include sending gifts and presents to bride. If the parents of groom are pretty affluent, they send opulent golden jewelry, clothing, and perfumes for the bride.
It is important to note that some of the customs followed in Moroccan weddings have no foundation in Islam. However, the Moroccan culture has adopted those ceremonies and traditions from various cultures including the French.
Furnishing Party is an important pre-wedding ceremony that takes place five days before the fixed wedding date. The “Furnishing Party” focuses on preparation of the bride’s new home. The party that is primarily a women's party delivers household belongings such as handmade blanket, mattress, bedding, carpet, frash, Moroccan couch etc., to the couple's new apartment.
In another traditional pre-wedding ceremony, women and female friends of bride have a party where the bride performs a sort of a “milk bath” to "purify" her. Bride’s negaffa or negassa (female attendants) usually supervise the event. The female attendants, who are usually older married woman, female friends and relatives, help to beautify the bride. They help her dress in a richly decorated wedding kaftan (usually white), adorn her with heavy jewelry, and beautify and darken her eyes with kohl.
According to the traditional islamic practices of Moroccan wedding, Henna Party or Beberiska ceremony takes place a night before the wedding. Henna Party is typically for the women of the family, relatives and female friends. Henna artists paint the hands and feet of the bride and her party with Henna. Bride’s hands are painted with intricate designs, which are usually floral and geometrical designs that are meant to ward off evil spirits, bring good luck and increase fertility. The grooms name is often hidden in the henna designs. The party enjoys tea & cookies, dances on Moroccan music and make merry. Later in the party, the older, married women discuss the 'secrets' of marriage with the young virgin bride-to-be. In some ceremonies, the bride is placed behind a curtain to symbolize her change of lifestyle.
On the wedding day, sumptuous delicious food is prepared for the guests. The food is prepared in plenty to cater the unexpected guests. Wedding ceremony takes place in great gaieties and celebrations. In old times, at some point in the evening, the groom accompanied by his family members, relatives, and friends, would move towards the bridal party. They would go singing, beating drums, and dancing. The groom and the bride are then lead to the bridal chamber. According to another Moroccan wedding custom, the bride would circle her new home three times before becoming the keeper of her new hearth.
In the modern times things have changed a lot. In old Moroccan culture parents would choose a bride for a groom, but the things aren’t the same in the recent times. Young people choose their own marriage partners now. Some of these old Moroccan wedding cultures and traditions have either vanished away or exist only in the rural areas.
Modern Moroccan weddings usually take place at night at big villas that are solely rented out for weddings. The men usually wear suits, and the women don their best caftans made out of delicate laces, and often intricately beaded. The ceremony is full of singing, drumming, dancing, and merrymaking.