Mum, Dad I am getting married tomorrow! Palestinian pre-wedding ceremony in the heart of Israel.

Imagine you are traveling through the country which has completely different culture and customs to the one you were born in. Imagine you are lucky enough to be invited to the big family event like wedding for example. If you invited, you are going to feel special, because it means, that you are allowed to witness something dear to this family. They want to show you their way of life, share their joy and proudly announce new chapter in someone’s life. 

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Symbols of bride and groom

We have visited the same family twice, on Henna Day and on the day when the future groom was “buying out” future bride. Please, note the quotation marks as this “buying out” ceremony was just a way to give future bride a lot of jewellery 🙂  and gather both families and friends together again for the night full of dancing and celebrations.

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A lot of dancing involved!

When we visited the house of the future brides on a Henna Night, we were asked to sit on one side of the huge living room in open air and our partners could sit opposite to us. 

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Marcin and Khaled sitting with the guys on one side
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And we are sitting on the other

It did not mean we were not allowed to cross from one side of the room to the other or speak with our own husbands and partners but we respected the family wishes and we sat like they wanted us to.

Dancing on Henna Night
Dancing on Henna Night

The Henna Night – when the future groom brings a lot of henna to the future bride house so she can have henna draw all over herself and her friends and family – is an exclusively feminine ceremony. Every women dance and sing and I and my sister were invited to share the joy too!

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Henna Day – dancing!
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Henna Night – dancing!

 There is a separate Groom night too – and this is for men only. They would sing and dance together and enjoy too!

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They will be going out soon!

When we came to visit again next day everything looked so beautiful and significant. The future brides were welcoming everyone together with their parents and they wore beautifully done dresses. It all looked so posh!

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The family welcoming the guests
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Beautifully done gates and two future brides

Both sisters dance together and after a while a lot of other guests joined in too. They really love to dance!

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Dancing your heart out!
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Two sisters enjoying their dance
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Glamour dress wore by one of the sisters

The ceremony was grand! There were around 200 people coming from all parts of the village. Some of the women wore traditional scarfs around their head and neck, but there was a lot of women wearing typical European clothes too.

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Its time to start the fun!
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More then 200 people attended the ceremony
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Children sitting on a futon – all magic will happen there!

The future brides can wear whatever dress they wish to and the future husbands must wear a shirt the same colour as the bride’s dress.

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The future groom arriving in a grand style!
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The future bride and groom dancing together – notice matching colours!

The decorations were amazing! Especially the once carved in watermelon and pumpkin.

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Pumpkin ship
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Melon art
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Watermelon flower

The food was so delicious! I have never eaten so much in one night in my entire life!

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The best stew I have ever had!

During the ceremony the future husband presented his future wife with a lot of jewellery. Everyone witnessed this so he is not able to claim his gifts back if the marriage ever breaks up!

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First gift…
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…second…
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…third…
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…and another one!

Next they exchanged rings…

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And then she gave him a ring too!

Even though the future bride could not show her happiness, as she was leaving her family home, both of them clearly enjoyed their evening. 

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Happy couple!

I am hoping the future is bright for this lovely couple, against the odds! 

Israel

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