Wedding is the most significant and exciting moment in every individual’s life. Every individual desires to be wed. This significant event is a transition from being single—a phase of life free from numerous responsibilities— to partnership which is accompany with a lot of responsibilities and accountabilities. In spite of these responsibilities, people still choose to get wed because it is one way of expressing how each individual loves his/her partner so much. Every part of the world has its own way in celebrating the said event. Some countries are having traditional weddings and others are not. Two of these countries that have traditional weddings are the Pakistani and the Egyptians.
Since these two countries are practicing the Muslim traditions, it is for sure that these two also have different practices in conducting wedding ceremonies compared to other nations that practice Christian weddings. But in spite of the fact that Pakistani and Egyptians are practicing Muslim weddings, there are still distinctions from each other. The Egyptians called their wedding as “zaffa”, or the wedding march, while for the Pakistani called the wedding ceremony as “shadi”.
In Egypt, arranged marriage is practiced. Its wedding march, “Zaffa”, is a musical procession of instruments such as bagpipes, horns and drums. One of their presentations during “Zaffa” is the belly dancing and the men carry the flaming swords; thus, it is a jubilant occasion and making it musical is a way of saying that the wedding ceremony is about to start. On the other hand, wedding is one of the most prestige occasions in Pakistan. The wedding preparations in Pakistan start for several months before the wedding event, however, the actual ceremony normally last within three days. “Shadi” is said to be the significant event that opens a new phase in the life of two individuals.
During this event, the parents of the bride arranged the reception and the official signing of paperwork also takes place in the presence of their Islamic Priest called Imam. At this wedding event, Shadi, the bride wears an embroidered outfit with loads of jewelry as well as the guests, particularly the women who wear bright colored outfits and jewelry. Moreover, the bride will not appear until after the signing of paperwork, Nikah (see “Wedding Ceremonies in Pakistan”).
The intents of this paper are to: be aware the origins of the wedding to find out how Pakistani and Egyptian weddings being practiced and; know the wedding similarities and differences between Pakistani wedding and Egyptian wedding.
In order to have a better understanding about the Pakistani and Egyptian weddings, we should know first the origins of the wedding traditions that are normally practiced world widely. Wedding may become complicated celebration because there are “guest list, catering, and planning”. Majority of the couple desire to have memorable wedding; in other words, couple would like to have a grand wedding that people will not forget it especially the bride, she wants to have an outfit that will let the guests know that she is the bride and a “ceremony and traditions” that would entail that the said occasion is “official”.
Some people nowadays only choose the traditions for their wedding that would only give personal significance to the wedding ceremony. There are eleven highlights of some wedding traditions and these are the rings, dress and veil, witnesses, Best Man, The Bride to the Left, cake, flower toss, garter toss, rice toss, old shoes tied to the get-away car, and the honeymoon (see “The Origins of Wedding Traditions”).
How Pakistani and Egyptian weddings being practiced?
Pakistani Wedding (Shadi). “Shadi” is a four-day event. It is really a life-time commitment when two individuals engage in marriage. The wedding is break down into four-day events. First Day of the Celebration. The families of the groom and bride wear yellow outfits and have the celebration separately for the forthcoming wedding. Beginning this time, the engaged couple is not allowed to see other until their wedding ceremony (see “Wedding Traditions in Pakistan”).
Second Day of the Celebration. This is a big occasion called Mehndi. This event happens on the night before the “shadi”. This is an occasion where Henna is put on the hands of the groom and on the bride. Mehndi is a colorful occasion which is also celebrated with ancient songs and dances. Moreover, there is an act of “exchange outfits” between the groom’s family and the bride’s family because the family of the groom takes the wedding outfit to the bride’s family and the bride’s family gives the wedding outfit of the groom to his family. The family of the bride decorates their house with hundreds of colored lights that create a flashy promulgation for the upcoming wedding of their daughter (see “Wedding Traditions in Pakistan”). The picture below is one of the events during Mehndi where the bride does not wear make up and dressed a traditional yellow outfit (see “Wedding Ceremonies in Pakistan”).
Third Day is the Marriage Ceremony. On the third day, the wedding rites and ceremony take place. The Pakistani groom and bride wear red outfits as their tradition. The outfit of the bride is ostentatious and elegant as well as her jewelry and veil while the groom wear a “distinctive traditional turban”. When the wedding vows are already done, the Koran—the Holy Bible in Islam—is held on the head of the bride while she joins the family of her husband. This is the event where the signing of paperwork being conducted in the presence of their Islamic priest, Imam, and the guests (see “Wedding Traditions in Pakistan”).
Fourth and Final Day of Wedding Program in Pakistan. This time, the newly wed “hosts their first dinner as husband and wife”. The family of the groom sends invitations to all guests to come to their house for a celebration or a banquet. After the wedding day, the “Valima” reception is comes about. “Valima” is hosted by the family of the groom (see “Wedding Traditions in Pakistan”).
Egyptian Wedding (Zaffa). The first individuals who had marriage codes in the globe were the ancient Egyptians. Egyptians considered marriage as a “civil and legal relationship”. The early Egyptian codes arranged and established the marriage relationship and pointed out the rights, responsibilities and obligations for the couples.
Several of the ancient marriage contracts have been recovered and these contracts were listed and recorded and signed by three officers. The early Egyptian codes also tackled the right to divorce. The wife was highly venerated and valued and had a great reputation. Before the engagement take place, the couple had a plenty of time to see and know each other better; for instance, during the common feasts and in the temple. The early Egyptian family custom permitted the adult daughter to greet and receive the guests “who came to visit her parents”. The early Egyptians were already aware about the engagement before the wedding ceremony took place. The fiancée dressed an engagement outfit which was simpler compared to the wedding outfit and its color was pink or blue as the groom put the ring on his fiancée’s finger which was a sign of immortality. Moreover, the groom handed over the precious and expensive jewelry gift to his fiancée that was part of their agreement before the big event, the Zaffa.
During the celebration, the guests feasted and drank many kinds of mouth-watering food and drinks. As the house of the new family was ready, both families talked and agreed about the date of the wedding party. A night before the wedding ceremony, the friends, the neighbors and relatives assembled together and had a celebration called “The Henna Night”. All women went to the house of the bride while the men went to the house of the groom. This scenario was most likely the same with the “Christian” practice where women went to the house of the bride-to-be to celebrate the “shower party” while for the men, they called it “stag party” friends (see Egyptian Wedding Traditions”. Babylon Productions Articles).
Furthermore, when the women arrived in the house of the bride, the women danced and sang the whole night and the bride dressed in a pink outfit which was made with silk or cotton fibers and the bride’s hands and feet were bleached with henna. In the meantime, while the women were having a good time, the men also danced and sang the whole night and the groom dressed a classy and costly clean suit. In the following day, the marriage agreement was signed and registered by their priest in the temple with the presence of the newly-wed-couple together with their families and friends (see Egyptian Wedding Traditions”. Babylon Productions Articles).
Additionally, the Egyptians practiced arranged marriage and it is normal for the groom’s family to propose to the bride. Before the exchanging of vows, there is a wedding march called “zaffa” (see “Wedding Traditions in Egypt”). “Zaffa” is performed during wedding celebrations that involve a dancer that acts out as a high priestess during the pre-Islamic periods with ceremonial functions to bless the Groom and Bride.
This ceremonial act, zaffa, is performed to bring “Fertility and Abundance” within the marriage. This ceremony has a dancer, the groom and bride, and a group of musicians who plays the zaffa rhythms—somewhat sounds like “dum tata tak tak dum tak tak”, this sounds will let the people know that there is a wedding going on —that give an impressive and memorable celebration that will introduce the newly wed couple to the guests in the reception room. When the procession stops, the newly wed couple sits down on the “Kosha”, a typical Egyptian wedding throne (see “Zaffa”). During the wedding, the bride wears white outfit that signifies spiritual purity and clarity. The picture below shows the event during “zaffa” (see “zaffa”).
The wedding similarities between Pakistani wedding and Egyptian wedding. Pakistani wedding and Egyptian wedding are prepared several months before the wedding ceremony takes place. They both, traditionally, have the arranged marriage where the groom’s family makes an agreement with the bride’s family. The groom in both traditions will give expensive jewelry and they make sure that their wedding ceremonies and receptions are very grand and flashy. They also have an Islamic priest and have paperwork to sign. A night before the wedding, the couple put on henna on their hands and feet and makes the celebration festive.
The wedding differences between Pakistani wedding and Egyptian wedding. Pakistani and Egyptians have many distinctions when it comes to their wedding preparations. Though both weddings have celebration a night before the wedding there is still a difference because the “The Henna Night” of the Pakistani is joined by the parents and they exchanged outfits for the groom and bride while for the Egyptian, “the Henna Night” is celebrated separately. The women go to the house of the bride while the men go to the house of the groom and put henna on their hands and feet. During the wedding day, the Pakistani couple wears colorful and flashy outfits and the groom wear a traditional turban. While the Egyptian couple, the bride wears a white outfit as a sign of spiritual purity and clarity.
Wedding celebrations are very significant to all of us. This is the most exciting event of our lives where we can have a new set of responsibilities and challenges. Though wedding activities are done distinctively in accordance with our culture and tradition, yet the meaning of it is very strong and it is a very sacred matter that needs to be preserved and respected.
Though Egyptians and Pakistani have the same Islamic faith yet they show their uniqueness as a group of people by performing the wedding occasions distinctively, meaningfully and colorfully that would indicate that being married is promising and a life of joy and abundance. Another thing that makes the Pakistani and Egyptian weddings very grand is that, they remain to be traditional when it comes to that event that makes the couple feels that they are really wed and now facing another dimension of life.
- “Wedding Traditions in Egypt”. http://www.worldweddingtraditions.com/locations/african_traditions/egyptian_traditions.html
- Egyptian Wedding Traditions”. Babylon Productions Articles. http://www.videobabylon.ca/Egyptian_wedding_traditions.html
- “Wedding Ceremonies in Pakistan”. http://www.geocities.com/ohaider99/main.html
- Wedding Traditions in Pakistan. http://www.worldweddingtraditions.com/locations/asian_traditions/pakistani_traditions.html
- “The Origins of Wedding Traditions”. http://www.creativehat.com/weddings.htm