Crackers of Libyan Rituals

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					 Sunday 28/10-03/11/2007                                                               23 North Africa Times                                                                              Life style

Weddings in Al-Bitnan
Crackers of Libyan Rituals
By Abdulrahman Salama

        ibyan summers are so eventful                                                                                                                                  day, while the groom pays for the
        that they are considered to be                                                                                                                                 wedding day’s ones.
        the most suitable time to cel-
ebrate happy occasions, and that is                                                                                                                                    The wedding day
why weddings extraordinarily boom                                                                                                                                          Weddings are normally held on
in that particular period.                                                                                                                                             Thursdays. On that day, the groom's
    In Libya, parents always urge                                                                                                                                      family sends the hairdresser's charg-
their sons to marry just after they                                                                                                                                    es to the bride's family. The wedding
finish their studies and get jobs. The                                                                                                                                  ceremonies start by setting up a big
campaign usually starts by encourag-                                                                                                                                   tent for women invitees. Two wed-
ing them to save the needed money                                                                                                                                      ding chairs are brought in for the
and look for the right person. Once                                                                                                                                    bridegroom to sit in. Some of them
found, the groom tries to know more                                                                                                                                    are also lined inside the tent for
about his future bride and checks her                                                                                                                                  women invitees. Other tents are set
background. If not then the parents                                                                                                                                    up for men.
offer their services to find him an-                                                                                                                                        Dinner is the main meal on the
other one by arranged marriage.                                                                                                                                        wedding day. The majority of fami-
    The mother of the bride would-be                                                                                                                                   lies slaughter two calves or a few
groom and few of his sisters take up                                                                                                                                   lambs to be served for the invitees.
the initiative to visit the lucky girl.                                                                                                                                    Invitees express their best wishes
The aim of the visit is to get more                                                                                                                                    to the groom's father during this cere-
knowledge on her and see what she                                                                                                                                      mony. They also give him some cash
thinks of him. Yet, in most of the                                                                                                                                     contributions or lambs for slaughter-
cases, the reply is not always imme-                                                                                                                                   ing. Some may bring a lamb after the
diate. If the answer is yes, male rela-                                                                                                                                wedding, which is slaughtered on his
tives call on the girl's family to ask    The wedding ceremonies start by setting up a big tent for women invitees                                                     arrival. The well-wishers and the in-
her hand formally.                                                                                                                                                     vitees eat from the lamb's meat. But,
    Once again, the response is not                                                                                                                                    the cash and lambs donations are
prompt. It may take some time as                                                                                                                                       akin to a lending, which the groom
the girl's family try to establish the                                                                                                                                 needs to repay when the well-wish-
groom’s background too. To convey                                                                                                                                      ers or their relatives marry off.
this purpose, his cousins need to be                                                                                                                                       A mix of candies, peanuts and
consulted according to established                                                                                                                                     almonds are offered to the invitees
norms.                                                                                                                                                                 inside a small bag as is the custom in
    The background's check includes                                                                                                                                    al-Bitnan region. Cakes and juice are
his history, family status, and way                                                                                                                                    also served before dinner in the wed-
of behaving, financial position and                                                                                                                                     ding day. Children are served with
whether he is able to support a new                                                                                                                                    juice, candy and biscuits.
family. Following consultations
among family members an approval                                                                                                                                       A special good morning
is given before fixing the wedding’s                                                                                                                                        The second day of wedding is
date. In most cases, grooms are asked                                                                                                                                  called Sabahiya, which has special
to give two pieces of pure gold al-                                                                                                                                    rituals too. Sabahiya literally means
ready demanded by the bride’s fam-                                                                                                                                     good morning in your first day of
ily. One piece is called "Aqd" while                                                                                                                                   marriage. A sultana dish, or Assidah,
the other is called “Nabila." One                                                                                                                                      is served. The lunch is prepared by
piece should be delivered before the                                                                                                                                   friends and the invitees, who come
wedding, while the other can wait                                                                                                                                      to wish the groom a good Sabahiya.
until he can afford it after marriage.
    A dowry of roughly LD 300 to                                                                                                                                       A spate of visits
500 is normally paid. Some families       Cars hand off the bride’s wedding clothes                                                                                        Some of the bride's relatives come
do not ask for dowry and leave it for                                                                                                                                  to visit her at her new house to see
                                          are served. She then shows them the
the groom, particularly if he was to                                                                                                                                   how she is doing. They usually bring
                                          bride's wedding clothes. As some
marry his cousin. Other families may                                                                                                                                   a lamb with them and lunch together
                                          relatives need to come from other
ask for a lot of money as an implicit                                                                                                                                  with the groom's family.
                                          cities, the groom's family slaughters
way to reject the proposing guy.                                                                                                                                           Following lunch, another lamb is
                                          one or two lambs to be cooked for
    Despite that, money should not                                                                                                                                     given by the groom's family to the
                                          lunch and dinner. The bride's new
be a problem for those who have                                                                                                                                        bride's one in exchange for theirs.
                                          clothes are shown to the invitees in
not made enough savings. Financial                                                                                                                                         One week after the wedding, the
                                          a celebratory atmosphere.
constrains must not be a deterrent for                                                                                                                                 bridegroom has to visit his wife’s
                                               On this very day the groom's
those willing to start a family espe-                                                                                                                                  family accompanied with some of
                                          family sends to the bride's one soft
cially that in most of the time, many                                                                                                                                  his relatives and offer three lambs,
                                          drinks, three lambs, fruits, vegeta-
poor couples can manage to live                                                                                                                                        vegetables and food supplies.
                                          bles, cooking oil, tomato, rice, sugar,
a decent life following marriage.                                                                                                                                          A lunch or a dinner is served to
                                          tea and other food supplies.
This is a true evidence of the Libyan                                                                                                                                  the visitors while the bride's family
                                              The bride's family also organizes
proverb which says that marriage is                                                                                                                                    offers gifts, such as robes or gold
                                          a small party and serves dinner to the
a good deed, able to be achieved eas-                                                                                                                                  rings, to the women who accompany
                                          invitees. A big quantity of drinks is
ily.                                                                                                                                                                   the couple.
                                          also sent to the bride's family to be
                                          served on the Henna dying day for                                                                                                Almost one month after the wed-
Tatrifa day                               the invitees. The bride's family may                                                                                         ding, the groom needs to visit the
   The day before Henna dying ritu-       ask for at least ten lambs in substi-                                                                                        bride's family. A lamb is brought in,
als is called the Tatrifa day. Others     tute for drinks and food supplies.          The Bride’s Car                                                                  if affordable. Some people may bring
call it the groom's Henna's dying day                                                 to the bride's house in a car con-       served for invitees on the wedding      a few kilos of meat or chicken. This
too.                                      Henna dying day                             voy to hand off the bride's wedding      day in al-Bitnan region. The bride      visit is called "Talkat al-Iqal.
   The groom's mother invites her            The Henna day is the day before          clothes.                                 goes to the hairdresser for hairstyl-       Following that, the groom does
female neighbors and relatives to a       wedding, mostly held on Wednes-                In this occasion, a local dish        ing and makeup. She then pays the       no longer need to bring any more
small party where sweets and drinks       days. The grooms' family sets off           called Basity is often the main course   hairdresser's charges for the Henna     gifts to his wife's family.

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