Tag Archives: mish munasibness

Weddings and Wagib

1 Oct

Happy October everyone!  And Happy Egyptian Daylight Savings Time Day!  My day just got about 20 times better, as I woke up feeling like a slacker for sleeping until 11 (it’s been a long week), and then turned on my automatically-updating computer to realize it was actually still only 10am!  So excellent.

Speaking of excellent, last Friday I went to the wedding of the century.  That’s saying a lot because in Egypt, the wedding is just about the most important moment of your life, and they like to do it BIG.  Kholy, the groom, was a great friend from last summer, who has the reputation of knowing approximately every person in Egypt.

The process of getting married in Egypt takes a few twists and turns along the way.  First, there’s the engagement.  After all of the interested parties are agreed on the match (the woman and man of course, as well as parents and family), they have a huge Khatooba (engagement) party.  I went to two Khatoobas last summer, and they’re often called the same word (Farah) as the wedding itself, which makes sense as they’re a lot like an actual wedding, with presentation of bride and groom, exchange of rings and jewelry, cake-cutting ceremony, and of course lots of dancing.

The next step is called Katab-al-Kitab, writing of the book.  This is a small ceremony with very close relatives as witness, when the couple signs the marriage contract and is legally married under Islamic law, although they don’t live together until after the big wedding party.

The Farah itself is a just a huge party to celebrate the marriage with family and friends and friends’ friends and relatives’ friends and occasionally random Americans who show up, etc.    As a rule, the wedding always starts late.  When we asked Kholy what it was going to be like, he told us he would get there at 6, and the bride will arrive at 7.  Ha!  Like the silly Americans we are, we figured that would (more or less) be the case, so Monica, Mae, and I got together and got ready to leave by 5.  We ended up getting picked up around 9, successfully overcoming the walk of shame to the car in our scandalous (for Egypt) attire.

We arrived at the site of the wedding–it was held at the King Marriott gardens on the North Coast, which was beautiful and decked out with pretty lights and a huge stage–in plenty of time to see the zifa, or the bride’s entrance, when she pulls up in a car and is greeted by loud horns and drum music, and is met by the groom.

Kholy and Sarah then had their first slow dance, and everyone got to join in.  Sarah looked absolutely gorgeous.  And Kholy it turns out did not wear flip flops and shorts like he claimed he was going to, and looked pretty handsome as well.

The rest of the night was a blur of FOOD and DANCING!  After the first dance, they opened up the 2 buffet lines of about 30 covered dishes each, with every imaginable Egyptian food, some of my favorites of which were the fish, stuffed/grilled vegetables, cheese-filled sambousa pastries, and oh, at the end of the neverending buffet line was a shwarma stand!  There was a whole separate table for salads and hummus-style dishes, and rows and rows of amazing desserts (also an ice cream stand where you request any flavor)!  So delicious.  Somehow after stuffing ourselves completely full we managed to get up and dance yet again!

There were two great well-known musicians who came and sang to Kholy and Sara and led the dancing, Abu Elif and Mahmoud El-Esseili, which was tons of fun.  At weddings the women all dance around the bride, and the men all dance encircling the groom.  Sometimes the circles mush together a bit, and sometimes the girls circle links up and goes into the middle of the boys circle, so the boys are all on the outside dancing in one direction, girls are all inside dancing another direction, with the bride and groom in the middle!!  Afterward a DJ took over, until  it was time to say our Mabrouks (congrats) and head home to bed.

The best part about the wedding was seeing the group of friends we made last summer all so happy and excited for our friend Kholy!  He’s the first of their group to get married, so it was just really fun to be a part of such a big event for Kholy and our buddies from the Rotary club.

Also last weekend I moved in with my Egyptian family!!  I’ll write a more specific post on that sometime but for now an update on life in general:  living with the family is working out great.  I have a Mama Azza and a brother Mohab, who are both super nice.  Mama Azza cooks me food and makes me shay bi-leban (milk tea), and in general is just the sweetest person ever.  They’re just moving into their new apartment, so things are still all getting set up, but I have my own room, desk, bed, internet….and what else do I really need in life?

After classes started this week, just about all my time has been spent with this:

HOMEWORK.  Classes are so intense this year.  I slave away over reading and vocabulary from the time I get out of classes until I can’t work any longer and have to fall asleep.  (Hence the lack of recent blogging, sorryyyyy).  And not even all of our classes have started yet!!  University classes (supposedly, but you can never be too sure) start this week, and my internship just started yesterday…I’m working at a non-profit called Caritas Egypt, on their microfinance project, searching for grant money for their blossoming program.  Sweet!  Anyway, gotta salaaaam out for now.  Good luck with all that rain I’ve been hearing about in the US!  I’ve pretty much forgotten what rain is at this point. 😉

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