In the Muslim world, marriage
customs and traditions vary as much as the colors in a rainbow. All retain the
Islamic obligatory acts, which make a marriage valid and include other
practices, which are individual to their surrounding cultures. Here are customs
from some parts of the Muslim world. Please note: not all Muslim marriage
customs are necessarily in line with Islamic values.
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Here are customs from some parts of the Muslim world. Please note: not all
Muslim marriage customs are necessarily in line with Islamic values.
India and Pakistan
In the Indian subcontinent, a marriage is reserved to three days of
customs and traditions. The Mehndi is the event where you put henna on the bride and groom's hands.
Marked by traditional songs and dances, it sometimes extends to two days - one
day over at the groom's place to put henna on his hand and the second day over
at the bride's house to put henna on hers. The actual Nikah is called a Shadi, which is traditionally done by the
bride's side. This is the signing of official paperwork in the presence of an
Imam. After signing these papers and doing some religious ceremony, the couple
is declared husband and wife. To celebrate, guests eat of the many lavish
dishes that are served. To announce the marriage officially the Walima takes place as a feast given
by the groom's family. Both husband and wife welcome the guests and mingle with
them while people eat dinner.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
As a tradition in the UAE, the setting of the wedding date marks the
beginning of the bride's preparation for her wedding. Although the groom is
also put through a series of preparations, the bride's are more elaborate and
time consuming. She is lavished with all sorts of traditional oils and perfumes from head to
toe. Traditionally, she is not seen for forty days by anyone except for family
members as she rests at home in preparation for her wedding day. During the week that precedes the wedding, traditional music,
continuous singing and dancing take place, reflecting the joy shared by the
bride and the groom's families. Laylat Al Henna (literally, the night of the henna), which takes place a few
days before, is very special night for the bride, since it is a ladies' night
On this night, the bride's hands and feet are decorated with henna.
The back-to-back feasts and celebrations involve both men and women who usually