Tunisian Wedding traditions

Kris

Administrator
Staff member
#1
I understand that traditions vary from place to place my favourite Tunisian tradition so far is from Bizerte and it is when the Bride to be has to walk around the house with a fish tied round her leg brilliant. Does anyone else have a bizzare tradtion such as this?
 

Mak

Active Member
#2
RE: Tunisian Wedding traditions

Hi there,

As you mentioned there's a lot of differents tranditions with weddings ... but most of them there are the same ... but what really i like in the weddings is the few days before the big party... when the groom has to walk with his familly members in the front ( only men) and with his friends and relatives and they have to walk all of them to the house of the Bride to ask for her hand ... and then you see a crowd of people walking together talking having nice chats and when they come to the door of the Brid's house ... one man ( mostly the father of the groom of his brother ... ) knock the door of the house 3 times ... and then you hear a man voice asking : Who's knocking .. and then he answers : We are .... caming to ask the hand of your Daughter .... for our son ..... and then the guy from the Bride's house ( mostly her father or big brother if the father dead ) he open the door and he says : Please be welcome in our home ...

In fact it's a role-playing because the bride's family there know that in that date at that time all this will happen ... but what really matter is the social / human aspect of this role-playing ...
First of all when you see the crowd of people that shows a social solidarity which i believe every society needs it ... Second the idea of all this is the "publicity" because when man sees a crowd of people walking together .. he would ask , what's going on ... and then the answer is that .. the daguthter of .... is getting married to the son of .... so people are going to know it so the bride will be treated in the future as a "token" woman ... so no man in the future will try a chance with her ... which is good i think ...
Third : the fact that the groom comes walking from a certain place to another place (Bride's house) with the most closed people to him ( family, relatives, friends ) show's how much the bride means for him .. i believe that something like in Europe the act when the man goes on his knee for the Bride ... or when the father of the bride gives away his daughter in the church to her groom ...

I do believe that in spite of everything the goals of every culture are the same ..

of course i can tell you more about he weddings in Tunisia .. but trust me that will take me a year :)

Cheers
Mak
 

Kris

Administrator
Staff member
#3
RE: Tunisian Wedding traditions

Should be funny for me and Hajer in September with my crowd of Englishmen hope nobody thinks its an invasion.
 

Mak

Active Member
#4
RE: Tunisian Wedding traditions

if i may ask .... Hajer is an arabic name for a woman ... is she your wife ? :) or am i wrong ?

Makrem
 

Kris

Administrator
Staff member
#5
RE: Tunisian Wedding traditions

Hajer is my Fiancee and the editor of Tunisia.com we are getting married in September.

Regards,

Kris "Aka" Aziz
 

Makrem

New Member
#6
RE: Tunisian Wedding traditions

Hi Kris,

It's good ... i wish both of you health , wealth and happy life :)

Rgds
Makrem
 

jukcoder

Member
#7
Eid Mubarek to all and a prosperous new year

Keep smiling

Faisal Abdallah ,Gafsa
 

Kris

Administrator
Staff member
#8
And to you and you family also
 
P

pritchardjd

Guest
#9
Hi Kris.... My wife and I have visited Tunisia many times on holiday.... We Have now been invited to Our Tunisian friends Wedding in March..... My Wife is panicing as she is not sure as to what is appropriate to wear can you advise on this.....thanks ....john
 

deltree

New Member
#10
Tradition of brides price or mahr or dowry

Hi there my name is Chris and is planning to get married to a Tunisian woman from the town of el kef and have come across the tradition of brides price or mahr or dowry and there so many figures of price from a symbolic nothing to fortunes as anyone got a modern view on this, I found one quote from a site an American in Tunis dated 2005. And on the one of the days, the groom comes to her family’s house to sign the wedding contract and pay the bride price (a symbolic token of 20 dinar... about 10 Euro... these days).and someone else’s comments. In the modern Tunisian society, these huge mahrs are very unfashionable now since they were contributing to making the marriage harder to take place; moreover showing off is religiously not acceptable.

Practically, modern Tunisian women are financially independent anyway and they don't need such guarantees anymore, therefore mahr is now a mere symbolic sum paid to maintain compliance with a long Islamic Tradition no more. I had to pay 1 TND to my wife when we signed the marriage contract , I know some regions where the value of mahr is still the same since several centuries: 0.068 TND (5 cents), Does anyone no any different, or what the feelings is about this or anyone from a small town like el kef as I want to do the right thing and don’t want to offend anyone ??
 

Dorra

Member
#11
.
Bride's Night Party Laroussa Beni Hassan

In August 2004 I was a guest at a traditional, Arabic wedding in Tunisia. The groom Imed is the eldest son of a family I met thirty odd years ago on my first visit to the country. As is common in Tunisia, his bride Salwa is a younger cousin.

On a hot August afternoon, the groom’s family and friends gathered at his family home in Khniss. Here on display were the newly decorated and furnished rooms he had prepared for Salwa and himself; along with the wedding gifts provided by Imed for his new bride. These included a complete new wardrobe of clothes, shoes, makeup, gold jewellery including traditional heavy gold anklets, a copy of the Koran and a live sheep.

When all the groom’s party had arrived, inspected the wedding gifts and been served refreshments it was time to leave. Men, women and child all wanted to help with loading the presents into the trucks. Baskets of clothes, jewellery, shoes and all the gifts were carried out and packed into the waiting vehicles. One wagon was reserved for the band; and the sheep came too, in a pickup with some young men. Its next appearance was to be on a dinner plate.!

First the gifts, then the guests. Imed’s family scurried around shoehorning themselves, the grannies, babies and children into any available car seat. The men young and old, who weren’t driving a vehicle clambered up onto the backs of trucks and vans. Eventually we were ready to leave. There was great excitement as our convoy pulled off. Almost thirty vehicles, packed with people and presents; all with hazard lights flashing, headlights blazing and horns sounding . Green scarves for luck waved from any window that could be reached, as we moved off slowly through town to the main road. Green, the colour of Islam, spring, new beginnings, luck and fertility!

As we travelled to Beni Hassan with lights and hazards flashing, horns sounding as we passed through villages and towns en route.
When passing another wedding convoy travelling in the opposite direction the noise was almost deafening. On reaching Beni Hassan, the groom and his party were welcomed in the courtyard of the Bride’s family home by her family and friends.

Of the Bride herself there was no sign. On this day she and the groom were not supposed to meet or speak. Salwa was hidden away in a bedroom visited only by female friends and relatives. Imed remained in the courtyard as his bridal gifts were carried in by the men in his party. Here they were shown to all the assembled guests. The family of the bride for their part, had two rooms of their home jam packed with all the gifts she would bring to the marriage. Furniture, bedding, china, cutlery, fridge, freezer; just about everything to equip a home. The band were playing, people danced in the centre of the courtyard. Shrill ululations of joy came from all corners. And this was the last known sighting of the sheep on four legs!

Two lady lawyers arrived and went first to the bedroom where Salwa signed her marriage contract. Returning to the centre of the courtyard they sat at a table where first Imed and then Ben Issa (Salwa’s father) also signed the contract. Then there came a short prayer followed by congratulations from all. The groom got to kiss and be kissed by everyone except his bride! Refreshments and wedding favours were passed around by Salwa’s family.

Imed’s party then set to, to reload the vehicles with all of her wedding presents. His gifts to her were left behind. Salwa would bring these with her 3 days later when Imed would return to take his wife to her new home. It took a good hour or more, as everything was carried out of the home and carried along the alleyway to be loaded onto the waiting trucks and vans. Lots of people scrambled to help. Children were just as keen as the men and piece by piece it was loaded under the supervision of the men from both families. Just as we thought it was all done, Riadh and Sharif (Salwa’s brother and brother-in-law) staggered through the courtyard carrying an huge plank of dirty, old wood on their shoulders The watching crowd all roared with laughter.

Eventually, together with the band Imed, his family and friends set off to return to his home where the furniture and household goods would be arranged by his mother and sisters. All his female relatives would then return to Beni Hassan for the Bride’s Night Celebration.

I remained in Beni Hassan for the Bride’s Night party which was to follow. After resting, chatting with the bride as the courtyard of her home filled up with women of all ages from the village, as well as members of the all woman band who would provide the music. Outside in the street, the men were building a stage, rigging up lights, sound systems, setting out chairs which were all hired for the occasion.

Back in the house a meal was prepared and served, lamb, couscous and bread which had been baked in industrial quantities. After eating, the women then got down to the serious business - getting ready. One bedroom became an impromptu beauty salon as women and girls helped each other with makeup, dressing in their best. Many of the women wore their traditional costume; multicoloured and multi part it is both heavy and extremely hot to wear. Being inland, away from the sea breeze temperatures did not drop much as night fell. I don’t know how they not only wore the costumes, but also danced.

And dance they certainly did. The band took up their position in front of the stage playing traditional weddings songs. Most of these are ritualised praise singing about the Bride and Groom. This was a truly amazing sight. Dozens of women, young and old shimmying like their lives depended on it. Men were banished from the scene - this was a woman’s party, one of the rare occasions when Tunisian women can really let their hair down.

I regret my photos and words cannot do justice to this. As an honoured guest I was frequently pulled into the thick of it. Everyone was trying to encourage my feeble attempts to shimmy and shake as only an Tunisian can. No contest, even the toddlers were better than me. Still no one was impolite enough to comment, all I can say is, I tried.

On the return of the female members of Imed’s family from Khniss, the band struck up a traditional song to welcome the Bride. Dressed in a magnificent golden costume which covered her from head to toe, and attended by Leila and Saida, Imed’s sisters, Salwa made her way slowly (the costume is very heavy) in a sparkler lit procession from her home to the stage. Here she was seated in a grand armchair with four young friends, in traditional costume seated two at each side.

They danced and they danced, scarves waving and joyful ululations ringing out over the music. Saqia the bride’s mother was moving through the crowd of dancers pressing coins to their foreheads and calling out in Arabic. This was followed by the Bride leaving the stage and taking a position on the dance floor. Wedding guests in ones and twos danced in front of Salwa before presenting her with a gift of money. For her part, she attempted to dance with them but was severely restricted by the weight of her costume.

Following this Salwa was led to a chair placed at the front of the dance area and she was joined by Salouwa the Groom’s grandmother. At 84 she is some character, known in the family for telling funny stories and making them all laugh. The music stopped and Salouwa addressed the wedding party. My Arabic is not up to understanding what she said. Thanks to an English speaking cousin the gist was; Salouwa spoke of the two families, praising first Imed, then Salwa, and welcoming her to the family.

And then, they all danced some more. At midnight, the temperature was still 27c and this party felt like it would never end. Eventually I had to tear myself away for the journey back to my hotel. It was only day one, after all, and I was exhausted. The next day was a rest day with the next event, the Groom's Night taking place 2 days later.

I apologise for the length of this, (well done to those who read it all) but it is the only way I can do it any justice.

Dorra
 

jkenne10

New Member
#12
Hi Dorothy,

I read it and it's fantastic you made me feel that i was there to.x
 

Kris

Administrator
Staff member
#13
Great post
 

pej

New Member
#14
It was really interesting to read, please fill us in with stories on whatever other traditions you may have witnessed! I have seen photos of my husbands relatives 4-day wedding parties, but am thankful ours was kept simple. Not knowing the customs or the much of the language, four whole days would have been much for me.
 
S

sarra

Guest
#15
Hi Kris.... My wife and I have visited Tunisia many times on holiday.... We Have now been invited to Our Tunisian friends Wedding in March..... My Wife is panicing as she is not sure as to what is appropriate to wear can you advise on this.....thanks ....john

Tell her to take this time and think back when she saw a beautiful dress and said "I don't have anything to wear this to"....this is the time sister!!!! glam it up and go "READ CARPET"
you can do that in Tunisian weddings but not in the U.S. I made that mistake. But I would rather be over dressed than under dressed
hope I helped
Tunisian friend,
Sarra
 

ginabeena37

Active Member
#16
a new headache

hi, just to let you all know that i got married on april 24th,all went well, and i had a really good day, despite all the headache with the papers before hand:)
could anyone give me information on how to start the process of the visa application please
 

pej

New Member
#17
Mabrouk! I hope all goes well for you. You can find info on visa application in the Visa section here on this site.
 

beckijj

Active Member
#18
congratulations. how does it feel to be a newly wed? i wish you all the happiness for the future and wish u luck on the visa application
:)
 

delly

New Member
#19
hi!!
dont no if am in the right place but does any 1 no a website that sells traditional tunsian wedding dresses because i plan to marry in august.
 
#20
Top