Arts Entertainments

the lebanese wedding

Traditions vary slightly from town to town, but are basically the same whether they are Christian or Muslim. Young people in Lebanon go out socially to night clubs and to the movies. So the appointments are actually made there. Fashion is very big so even Muslim ladies have extremely high style in their clothes and all women’s makeup is impeccable. They all have a tendency to look like moving stars.

Of course, all weddings have to have a beginning. And this starts with a commitment. A big engagement party is always planned for the couple. This is released by the bride’s family. The party is very similar to a royal wedding. The only real difference is the fact that the bride can wear whatever dress she chooses. The food is plentiful as are the drinks and the dancing. It is traditional to serve a rose water drink called sharbat. A band with singers and musicians is hired. Possibly even a belly dancer will perform. Both parties exchange a ring that they wear on their right hand instead of their left. These are changed to the left hand at the wedding ceremony. This is a great party. Sometimes a henna party is held which is the Lebanese version of a bachelorette party. All the ladies arrive at the bride’s house and a henna artist comes to paint designs on the bride and her guests. There is a lot of food, drink and dancing. This is typical of all Lebanese occasions. They are masters at playing host.

The Lebanese wedding can last up to three consecutive days. Today people are more Westernized, especially in Beirut, the capital. The most impressive part of any wedding is the zeffet. This means procession. The wedding begins with two separate parties. A party held at the groom’s house. A party held at the bride’s house. Their respective families and friends help them prepare for the big event. The last party is held at the bride’s house where the groom comes to pick up his bride. There is a lot of food. They all dance. This is where the z effect starts to take place. In the zeffet group there can be up to 6 percussionists and other musicians. As the bride and groom leave the house, they are harassed. This is a vibrating sound made on jubilant occasions. Flower petals and rice are thrown at them as a sign of happiness.

A wedding arranged in a hotel or ballroom would be even more grand and would follow after the house party. At these events a professional group of zeffet is hired that includes singers, dancers and musicians. Every wedding, big or small, has to have a z effect. This procession effect enters the hall and brings the bride and groom. It doesn’t matter where in Lebanon you go for a wedding and the sect doesn’t matter. The fundamental things are there. It’s phenomenal. A fabulous event to wish the bride and groom the blessings of the future.

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