Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wedding Crashers

Alright, so I already typed this all out, on accident clicked select all and deleted everything, freaked out and instead of clicking undo I clicked on my "edit tab" (where I can find all my drafts) and it saved right before I clicked the tab. So here I am again, starting from the top and hopefully it's as good as the last one.

Anyways, Good news: I went to a traditional Moroccan wedding and am now home in Meknes blogging about it; bad news: (besides me deleting everything) I couldn't take pictures because of two reasons: 1) some people there were superstitious and taking a picture of them is a bad thing and 2) I'm not apart of the family and the family is very traditional and conservative that they wouldn't like it (the bride wore a hijab through the whole wedding)
My friend Khadija invited us (me and my roommate Jennifer) to this wedding. This wedding is actually Khadija's friend's cousin's wedding so Khadija wasn't even relate to them but they still welcomed us to come and experience it.
Me and Jennifer modeling off our caftans 
We left Meknes around 4:30 yesterday afternoon to travel to Tawjtat (about an hour and a half away) by the city bus and yes, it was very crowded, hot, sweaty, and it smelled like fish - someone went to the fish market before they boarded the bus. We arrived in Tawjtat around 6:00 and was greeted with welcoming kisses and hugs. There were mostly women there with little kids (some men showed up to grab things and leave but they didn't linger long). They were so glad that we came that they served us bread with butter and honey and some tea. We were told that the wedding "starts" at 7:00. Well, we actually got ready at 8:00. All the women did put on beautiful caftans and did their make-up and we actually didn't leave until 9:00 (hey, that's not 7...that's right...Moroccan time: late is on time). We all stuffed in a van and went to the one and only hotel in town. This really isn't a hotel but a motel but since it's the only one in town, they consider it a hotel.

We found our places and while we were waiting for all the other guests and the bride and groom, me and Jennifer had a question and answer session with Khadija. We figured out that the bride is 20 years old and the groom (age unknown but he is way older than 20 that's for sure) is a wealthy vegetable farmer and they are both Berber. This couple actually had a three day wedding. The first day is the henna party. All the women (bride, of course, aunts, sisters, and close friends-female only please!) went the day before the first reception and got all henna-ed up. Their henna looked like the lady that I bought my rug from in Khemisette (check out her hands and feet in my photobucket account). The second day (this is the one I went to) is considered the bride side. They hold the reception in her home town. They had a men only reception at 1:00 in the afternoon and then the women dancing and celebrating party from 9:00 at night to 5:00 in the morning (the men showed up around dinner time and most of them sat in the corner- this is mostly a party for the women). The third day is exactly the same but it's at the groom's home town. We also found out that the bride hires a lady that helps her out through the whole wedding experience. She brings all the caftans, jewelry, make-up, random accessories, and so on. She follows the bride around making sure that everything is fitting right, that her dress isn't getting stepped on, and making sure she looks great - how wonderful, I want one. She also brings three ladies with her that sings/chants whenever the bride moves (they also help out with making the bride look wonderful).
The bride and groom finally showed up around 11-ish at night. They had their decked out car (like in America) and there was a band welcoming them to the party. Obviously everyone went outside when the band started playing and people started dancing like crazy. The bride was dressed in a pretty white traditional caftan. When the bride and groom came inside, the bride was carried into the air on this:
Bride sits there and is carried in
The men that carried her in the air were dancing and turning. It was pretty amazing. They then brought her to her throne which looked like this:
The bride and groom's throne
The groom sat right next to her and they were watching everyone dance. Moroccans love to dance and I actually dance like a Moroccan. It was wonderful because throughout the night people would grab me and take me to the dance floor to bellydance with them.
Then all of a sudden the atmosphere changed from dancing to excitement; the bride got up and walked into another room and only the helper lady along with her three other ladies went in. That's when we figured out they were changing her into another caftan! She changed to a purple caftan (the groom changed too but it's not a big deal - sometimes it was just the tie color when he wore a tux or he put on a different djellaba). She came out and sat on her throne again. Then dinner was served. The bride and groom along with the mothers and some aunts sat here:
The head table
The first dish that was brought out was chicken. There was three big chickens in the middle of the table. I sat with about four Berber ladies along with Jennifer, Khadija, a nice old lady that loves to dance, and one that actually breastfeed her child before lunch. They passed around the bread and started to dig in. Finger food for the whole table! Let me tell you, the Berber ladies know how to take apart a chicken. Then the server came by and asked if we were done and then took it away. He then brought another dish - lamb shanks this time. And once again when we were done, he took it away and then replaced it with fruits - apples, oranges and bananas.
Then after the food the bride changed again! This time in the blue. Each time she changes caftans the camera guy (video and pictures - only one guy does both) would video tape her leaving the throne and going into the changing room, leaving the changing room and going to the throne and then taking pictures while the helper lady helped her pose with her groom. Then the Moroccans went to dancing and music!
After dancing and picture taking, the bride changed into another caftan - pink this time! I thought she looked like a beautiful mermaid :). When she and the groom sat down, dancing and music resumed. After a while, she got up again and went to change into another caftan. During this time I decided to become bellydance barbie and show the bride's sister (she's only like 13) some elegant arm and hands moves - a big no no. So of course, I started to teach her on the dance floor while everyone was watching - even the older ladies. An older lady signaled me to come near her; she was sitting down in one of the corners of the room with a bunch of other older ladies. They were all clapping and cheering me on so I decided to go towards them. I thought she wanted to learn how to do elegant arms and hands and I was excited that I could teach Moroccans how to do something! Well, I was wrong. When I got to her she cheered me on and clapped a lot. Then she got up and pointed to both of her sons and then pointed to her ring finger. No one there spoke French so through my broken bad Arabic and body language translation skills, basically she was trying to marry off one of her sons to me. I was shocked! What?! I had no clue how to say "I have a boyfriend" in Arabic so all I really said was "laa, laa, laa" (laa means no in Arabic) over and over again. She had a strong grip on my arm and she wanted me to sit right next to her. Thank goodness Khadija's friend came to the rescue and took me away from the older ladies.
So note to self: when called at, don't come (I only thought this applied to men on the street but I guess you have to watch out for the older ladies that still have sons to be married off).
The bride finally came out and this caftan is so unique you have to see it because I don't think I could describe it to you.
Google image- not the couple
Her colors were red. When she came out, the groom was in a djellaba this time and they were both carried in this time (in their own separate thing - doesn't look like the one above - it was wooden). The guys carrying the wooden things were dancing, bouncing, and turning while keeping the bride and the groom in place. At one point the groom stood up in the wooden thing (while in the air) and was dancing as well. During this acrobatic scene, the guys brought the two wooden things together and the groom actually kissed the bride on the forehead (in a very traditional wedding, the groom and bride are not allowed to kiss until everything is set and done and the marriage is official). They then got dropped off at their throne again. And of course, dancing and music resumed. This time around with dancing and music, tea and little goodies were served to all the guests (it was about time because I was really thirsty and all they had was tap water that everyone drank out of one glass together).
After tea, the bride changed again. This time into the last one! She came out in, what I would describe it, a real wedding dress - one you would see from the 1980s in America. It was so beautiful and during this caftan/dress, one long song was played (or at least it seemed like one song to me) and by the end of it the bride and groom waved good-bye and got into their car and left. By that time, it was 5:00 in the morning (technically 6:00 because Morocco just changed their clocks today for daylight savings).
We walked back to the bride's mother's house and finally went to bed around 7:00 in the morning but we had to catch the bus at 8:00 so we only got 40 minutes of sleep.
I am now back in Meknes, finally finished my blog (without deleting it this time) and am now packing for a long week at the beach :D Yay!
Oh if you have any questions about the wedding, let me know. Since I deleted the first blog on accident, I might have left out some minor important details.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That sounds like a pretty awesome time! Did you eat some of the lamb shanks? Yum! I think we should have had you learn "I have a boyfriend" in Arabic before you left ;). I love you!