Thursday, April 21, 2011

Omani Wedding: Village Interior Style

[Headdress similiar to that or Interior brides---though we don't tend to wear much makeup beyond kohl if we are wearing traditional dress opposed to the white wedding dress]
Like in the case of Muscat White Weddings, it all starts with the potential groom requesting to speak to a father about his daughter. If the girl has no father or male relatives (like myself) then he goes to ask an Imam (religious Sheikh) to act as her guardian. If the father or guardian accepts, the man proposes, and if the girl accepts, her maher (dowry) is requested, to be paid to her. In the interior it is usually 2000 between family members - 7000 for outside the family. If the family doesn't like the groom, they come up with a number that he couldn't possibly pay. But the girl may choose anything for her maher that she likes. The maher is usually money that the bride buys wedding gold from, and her wedding clothes, and wedding expenses. My maher was a single silver ring and some promises written down in a legal contract. My guardian kept asking me if I was absolutely SURE the ammount was enough because it was apparently the lowest maher he had ever seen in Oman. I was certain and that was enough. I also asked for a gift not part of the maher of wedding shoes since I didn't have a pair to match my wedding dress, which was a traditional but designer Omani one borrowed from a friend. Traditionally these dresses are green although mine was a white pearl colour, and the bride's face should be veiled. Because I considered myself a Muscat traditional bride I wore the birqa that was common in Mutrah in the 1900s instead of a veil. Usually the maher is delivered just before the melka (the engagement and religious nikah part of the ceremony), and women and men, though both seperate in most cases, have traditional dances and songs for this. Since I had no family, I simply recieved my maher in a lovely traditional box and we read some Qu'ran. Sometimes the female family members carry the bride about on a litter or a chair and give her gifts, like watches, gold, and nowadays, gift certificates to Homecentre:D
(This pic is not from an Interior wedding but was the most similiar to what I've seen that I could find) The Melka/Nikah usually takes place in someone's home [decorated with Christma lights], though it may take place in a Mosque. If it takes place in a Mosque then the groom and the bride are usually seperate. I have mainly seen them take place in individual homes. My nikah was done seperate from my husband, with two male witnesses and the Sheikh (my guardian) coming to ask me if I wanted to marry, what my maher was and if I recieved it and if it was enough, and if I agreed to this Islamic marriage. With my assent and saying I was not coerced into a wedding. Usually at this point, male and female guests take a meal of rice and meat seperately, and the groom and bride may possibly take photos together. In my case, we did not.







After the Melka Islamically it is completely okay to consumate the marriage though in the Interior this is not culturally acceptable AT ALL. In fact, many families do not even allow the husband and wife to speak to eachother yet, which is Islamically ridiculous but it is tradition. [Men's wedding tent pictured]











My Urs (Islamic term for it is Walima) was right after my melka, but usually they are a month or a year or more apart. For the Urs, at least in the Interior weddings I have been to, the wedding takes place after Magreb (dusk) prayers, and wedding tents are rented by the village or a tribe for a whole month and everyone shares the tent's expenses and many weddings take place in the same facilities over that month. Also, the families share a Sablah which they own (Majlis---like a community hall) to keep wedding expenses in check unlike in other regions.[Female guests in their wedding clothes at the bride's homemade kosha pictured]


The bride and women and men have seperate celebrations, and the bride sits on a usually simple chair or sofa wearing a white western wedding dress or an Omani traditional one, and the female guests usually wear more traditional GCC clothes, from Kuwaiti and Saudi thobes, to Omani dress. Henna has usually been done two days prior with female family members, and on the men's side is a meal of rice and meat with the groom wearing full Omani male regalia, dishdasha, musayra, bisht, khanjar, rifle, sword, and two assa sticks. Both sides eat and the point of this is to publicize and celebrate the marriage. After this the bride and groom usually go to the groom's house, and traditionally this was done by donkey, with a big parade carrying the bride's pocessions to her new home. Nowadays, people prefer a Mercedes. Then the honeymoon period begins.

13 comments:

hijabi said...

I like this kind of wedding more then the white wedding. I'm so in love with all these traditions.

ynotoman said...

Nice post as was the white wedding but.......
" And please ask before taking any images off a post. Other than that, carry on! "

Anonymous said...

what, you don't like gold?

Aliyah said...

amazing infos omani princess :P i also love all these traditions and this culture. if u dont mind, can u please give me one info regarding converted muslim women? im a converted muslim as well and i am in a big confusion. does a converted has to change her name into de muslim name that she choose also in papers? pls i would really appreciate it to know ur oppinion since u live in oman. how is it over there? do they give u a muslim certificate prooving u are a muslim or u have to completely change ur identity? thanks a lot and im waiting for ur answer.

Rawiyah said...

These kinds of weddings seem so much more beautiful than the common ones muslim families host in cape town. I like the idea of a separate reception for men and women, but it's a costly affair, so families end up hiring a huge hall and dividing it in half instead.

Anonymous said...

How do you think you would feel if you had been brought up in this tradition? Would you still be keen to keep it all intact?
Wembley

Anonymous said...

Are you omani? I thought you guys were from western country?

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

hijabi: I like both but couldn't rationalise the expense of a white wedding for myself. Plus I like traditional dress more. Maybe cuz I grew up around ballgowns so I don't find them all that special?

ynotoman: I'm sorry. Which picture? I just googles Omani Wedding. I am usually too lazy to credit pics but if you let me know which one is yours I will certainly link to you and try to be more careful in the future. Sorry again.

Anon: Nope, I personally don't like gold. Doesn't look good on my and so boring ;p lol everyone in Oman has it;p

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Aliyah: Thank you for visiting the blog. Actually, in Islam, not Omani culture, a convert/revert does not have to change their name unless their name is Pagan, i.e representative of something contrary to Islam, or it means directly "A Jew" or "A Christian" like the name "Christina" ect. Most Jewish and Christian names that do not litterally mean the denomination can be kept, but named like Diana, being a Goddess name of Pagan tradition we change.

In Oman one can get a Muslim certificate to say one is a Muslim, but in many Western countries MOsques only give these out for Muslims so that a revert/convert may attend hajj in KSA.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Rawiyah: That sounds very practical.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Wembley: Maybe, maybe not. If I didn't grow up around ballgowns I'd probably want one too, but I'd probably keep all the wedding traditions besides that.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Anon: All the OPNP authors are from Western per se countries. 2 of us are married to Omanis:) and one of us holds an Omani passport. Three other girls also contribute to OPNO who are not connected to Omanis but are expats. In Omani culture, at least r husbands', when you enter into a marriage you ar epart of the tribe you married into, thus Omani per se, even if you don't feel it 100%.

Anonymous said...

ok, I get you. thanks for explaining and interesting mix of people on this blog.