Egyptian Wedding

Most weddings in Egypt are the result of indvidual efforts of two people in love. Still some Egyptians still arrange weddings.

It is believed that both a bride's and groom's family have to make a marriage contract. It traditionally includes the "mahr" and "shabka".

The "mahr" is a dowry that a groom-to-be gives to a bride's family. She uses this money to buy the furniture needed in her new home. The groom-to-be traditionally buys all the electronic devices necessary for the couple's future life.The "shabka" includes various jewellery a groom-to-be gives to a bride-to-be.

In Egypt Muslims make about 90% of total population. They hold a wedding ceremony called "katb el katb". It is performed by the Maa'zoun in the local mosque. The ceremony can be held in the family house too.

At the end of the ceremony the bride's father put the bride's and groom's hand together. A white cloth is put over them. They should repeat the words said by the Maa'zoun.

The locals are realistic. Not all marriages turn to be happy ones. That is why a divorce contract is also made. Having this in mind a list of every object the bride buys for the money received from the groom is made.

Before the wedding ceremony a bride wears a red shawl and cap or crown. She is carried in a canopy to a local bathhouse.

In many parts of the world a henna tattoo is used to beutify a bride's hands and feet. This tradition is present in Egypt too. Egyptian women have a henna party for the bride and her female cousins and friends. It is held a day or two before the wedding ceremony.

According to a local tradition women are allowed to pinch the bride on the wedding day. This is done for good luck.

Coptic Christians make about 9% of the population in Egypt. According to their traditions a bride and groom have to remove all of their body hairs before the wedding.

A Coptic wedding ceremony lasts about 45 minutes. As in other Christian churches there are prayers and reading from the Bible.

During ceremony the couple wears crowns and special capes. Before putting them on the crowns are blessed. The crowning has been part of the Coptic century since the 4th century.

The wedding rings are exchanged. The priest puts some holy oil on the forehead of both bride and groom. This should give them spiritual protection.

Close to the end of the ceremony a priest asks bride to be obedient to her husband. This is ancient but definitely oldfashioned detail. The priest then says that by doing so the couple will have children.

According a tradition the Coptic couple spends the first three days of their marriage praying and fasting. There is no sex too.

At about 10 or so pm the wedding procession or "zaffa" is formed. This is the beginning of the wedding reception which is usually held in a local hotel. The groom waits for his bride who arrives with her father.

The groom removes a bride's veil and kisses her cheek or forehead.

Like in other parts of North Africa and Middle East it is common for women to express their joy by "ululation" ("zaghareet"). A woman creates a special sound by moving her tongue from side to side.

There is lot music by a band performing on traditional music instruments like a drum known as "tabla". They perform for up to an hour.

What follows is the "kosha". The newlyweds welcome the guests. Photographs are taken then too. After that a bride and groom have the first dance. They are joined by other guests.

A traditional sweet drink called "sharbat" is drank. It is prepared from various fruits and herbs.

The couple cuts the wedding cake. A bride and groom feed each other. The wedding reception lasts until early morning hours.


Egyptian Weddings... Try "Walking Like These Egyptian"!


Wedding Ceremony – the details

Catharine Viola, The History of Coptic Orthodox Marriage Rituals

Egyptian wedding traditions


50 Wedding Traditions and Superstitions