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Palestine Oasis

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Palestine Folklore


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Weddings in Palestine

Marriage in Palestine was subject to social and economical issues . While the Europeans don't prefer and don't encourage relatives marriages, it was very difficult in Palestine to marry from outside the family, clan or tribe, to the extent, it became a social law .

Marriage from the cousin was a law in Palestine, regardless of love or acceptance . The fathers usually were the persons who decide and chose the bride or the bridegroom . This usage used to be practiced till the mid of the 20th century . "there are some villages and some families in certain cities still practicing this usage" .

Marriage was subject also to the benefits of the family or tribe for many reasons like : unity of family, blood etc..

Marriage Procedure

Usually the father goes with a group of men, this is called (Jaha), to ask for the hand of the girl to his son . They enter the girl's house singing Lawla Limhabbi which means : we came and hoping you accept giving us your girl to our son . The girl's father welcomes the guests and asks to execuse him to ask his daughter . The daughter, usually, don't tell her father that she accepts, rather, she tells her father "it is you who decides father" and that means that the girl has accepted the marriage .

When the father returns to his guests he says "A'la Barakat Allah" which means : "as god wishes", Then one of the women says E'wali . After the "E'wali" the bridegroom's father then says : what dowry the bride asks and we are ready ? The dowry was usually a piece of land and 12 golden bracelets for the bride .

After completing the marriage agreement between the fathers, they discuss the marriage date and the wedding procedure .

The wedding celebrations usually last for three days,and in some villages seven days . During the celebrations the bride and the bridegroom don't meet, speak and see each other .


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Palestinian Wedding Party

Wedding celebrations and procedure :

The wedding celebrations have three stages for both, the bride and the bridegroom :

Al - Hammam . (The bath)

Al - Hinna . (Prearing the bride for the party)

The big night . (The marriage night)



Al - Hammam is a popular bath, it was very famous in Palestine till the mid of the 20th century "few has remained in some villages" .

People used to go to these popular baths because of the hot water, in addition, "Al - Hammam" was a place where people meet and dialouge as if they were in a club . In other words, "Al - Hammam" was a social place more than a place to take a hot shower .

A very important reason made the business of "Al- Hammam" flourishes . The houses were very small to meet with friends, and its inhabitants were big . Each family was consisted of more than 15 person, "the father, the mother, children, daughters in law, grand sons and daughters etc .." .

"Al - Hammam" used to have two scheduals, one for women starts from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the other for men starts from 6 p.m. to the next day 12 a.m. .

"Al - Hammam's" owner used to be known as "Al - Hammamji" .

In "Al - Hammam" the bride and the bridegroom take their wedding's shower before marriage . "Al - Hammam" celebrations used to take place in the first day of celebrations .

The Bridegroom
The bridegroom takes his shower with his friends, and there he says goodbye to his "freedom" . While taking the shower his friends sing for him A'reesina :
Our bridegroom is the best among men
The best among men is our bridegroom
Hey .. Sun go and disappear
We'll put our bridegroom instead of you .
Then, they dress the bridegroom a new clothes and take him to his father's house on an Arabic horse while singing all the road Telee' Ilzain min A'l - hammam
Our beautiful guy has finished his shower
God and the name of god protects him etc ..
When they arrive the bridegroom house the bridegroom's mother and father sing for him Mbarak Ilmalboos :
Congratulations for the new clothes
Dress it my son dress it
Your eyes are on the bride
Your mouth is talking
but your mind with your bride
The Bride

The bride goes from her father's house to "Al- Hammam" on a horse . In front of the bride's horse the children walk carrying candles and Lemon trees' branches . Behind the bride's horse, women carrying trays full with food (rice and meat). On the left and right of the bride's horse the bride's friends walk and saying :  Zaghroodi .

The bridegroom's mother, sister and relatives wait the bride in "Al - Hammam", and when the bride arrives they sprinkle the incense and the flowers essence on her while singing E'waleh .

When they finish from this beautiful ritual, the women of the two families (although they are relatives) eat together, which is a sign that they became one family. The bridegrrom's mother feeds the bride by her hand as a sign to her that "You are my daughter now and I'm your mother" .

After eating, the bride's shower starts . The bride's mother, sisters, friends and the bridegroom's mother and sisters wash her body while reading Qura'an if they were Muslims, or reading from the new testament if Christians, to protect her from evil .

After the shower the "Janaki" (female musicians and dancers) start *singing and dancing .

After this small party every body goes home to prepare themselves to

Al - Hinna was and still used as a natural makeup by the Palestinian women . It is a kind of plant taken from a huge tree called (Al - Hinna) tree, its leaves look like the olive leaves, and has a very beautiful scent .

There are two kinds of Al - Hinna : the red and the dark one .

Al -Hinna night

Al - Hinna night is the night before the official wedding party . In every Palestinian village and town there was a woman called "Al - Mashita" specialized in preparing the bride to the wedding party .

The word "Al - Mashita" derived from the word "Barber" but "Al - Mashita's" role goes beyond the hair cut . She makes "Al - Hinna" to the bride and put it on her hair, hands and legs .

"Al - Mashita" also removes the unwanted hair from the bride's legs, hands and other parts of the body which called "Al - Tahfeef " by kneading sugar with lemon which is called "A'qideh" .

The bride's family inform "Al - Mashita" by the wedding's date and "Al - Hinna" night . "Al - Mashita" kneads "Al - Hinna" the night before "Al - Hinna night" or the same day at the bride's house, then she puts "Al - Hinna" in a golden tray decorated with flowers .

Three women (usually the mother of the bride, her sister and "Al - Mashita") carry "Al - Hinna" tray and enter the bride's room while singing Middi dayatik

Give us your hands (Bride's name) ..
Give us your hands .. (Ya He'eeee)
Your "Hinna" is wet (Bride's name)
Your "Hinna" is wet (Ya He'eee)
Call after your sisters (bride's name)
Call after your sisters (Ya He'eee)
Let's go to collect fire - wood (Bride's name)
Let's go to collect fire wood (Ya He'eee)


Out side the bride's room the guests sing E'waleh While the bride's friends sings for her Rannit Siwe'ra

Your golden bracelets, What a beautiful sound they have, Call after the bridegroom's mother ,To see our beautiful bride

After "Al - Hammam" and "Al - Hinna night" celebrations  Al - Dokhlah :"Al - Dokhlah" or the official wedding party starts which is the third day of the celebrations .


Last updated 1 January 2000 Written and   Designed  By Rafic Adnan  El-saleh
Names, pictures and logos are the copyright 1998 by Organization Name Palestine Oasis
(C)Copyright 1998 Palestine Oasis. All rights reserved.