The beat of the drums, the scent of mint tea permeating the air, the rich and savory meats and the sweet almond filled pastries, the brilliant colors of the hand made caftans and takchitas, the comfort of a home away from home; Morocco can evoke these senses all at once. The smells, sounds, tastes, feel, and sight of so much beauty in one place is magical. Morocco is an exotic place to visit and yet the people there make you feel at home right away. I have been to Morocco several times, and there are still places I have yet to see. The architecture, the history, the coast, oh and did I mention the food.
celebrating my nephew's birthday. This is early
in the day before the musicians arrived and before
most of the guests arrived. I wanted to capture as many of the different caftans and takchitas I could before I was too caught up in the dancing.
Most events, birthdays, baby showers, engagement
parties, weddings are hosted at home, but it's not
just lunch or dinner. No. It is an all out celebration including live music, dancing, dinner, sometimes breakfast, since you can't let your party goers go home hungry and a display of the latest in Moroccan fashion. Most couples meet their future spouse at a party or wedding and these events are what make up the majority of your social life.
In the summer time, most people stay out and awake later than your average person. If it's not a party, it's a wedding. Weddings are most often hosted in outdoor tents built for the occasion in the bride's neighborhood. You an hear the music from blocks away, but no one complains. They acknowledge a wedding is taking place and somehow sleep through it.
From my experience, a Moroccan wedding typically takes about 3 days to complete. First you have the wedding contract, hand written by the religious leader of the local mosque. Then you have the henna party, where the bride and usually most of the women in the family have their hands and feet decorated in beautiful henna tattoos. Next you have the actual wedding, that typically starts in the evening and can last all night long. The following morning, there may be a brunch or breakfast hosted by the in-laws. It is like having a three day party. You enjoy delicious food, amazing music (usually a live orchestra or band), and admire a gorgeous bride who changes outfits more times in the one night than most people do in a week.
I have been to many Moroccan weddings over the years, including my own. Yep. I had a Moroccan wedding. Why you ask? Easy. I married a Moroccan in Morocco.
My wedding was planned for me. I didn't wear a white dress or walk down the isle on the arm of my father when I married my husband. I didn't have to worry about flowers or food or guest lists or even my own wedding dress. What I did have to do is show up. My mother, father, stepmother, my mother's best friend, and my daughter, all got on a plane to Rabat, Morocco. We had a small family wedding, as there had been a recent death in family, but it was amazing and I wouldn't change a thing. I did decide to bring one thing with me; an Indian sari, which many brides choose to include in their wedding wardrobe. In Morocco, the bride traditional changes seven times during the wedding ceremony, not to mention the changes she makes during the henna party. My wedding dress had already been made for me, but I've always loved how beautiful women look in a sari.
The wedding was wonderful. My hands and feet were decorated with henna tattoos, along with my mother, stepmother, daughter, mother in law, sisters in law, etc. Most importantly, the people I love most were there.
Rings were exchanged, along with the sharing of dates and milk. Then we were admired by all and gifted with dancing, food, laughs, hugs, and well wishes. The party continued all night and in my case we ended our celebration somewhere around 5am. Most weddings last until 7am or 8am the next day, but I was just fine going to bed when I did :)
My husband and I have been married for fourteen years. Since, I have been to many more Moroccan weddings, some here in the
states, most in Morocco. If you ever have a chance to go to Morocco, I highly recommend it. If you go in the summer, you are sure to find yourself surrounded by weddings.
How did I meet my husband? That is another story.
You can find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor,com
Thanks for reading.