When it comes to Tunisian weddings, Tunisian like to follow the traditions!
It is along way for the groom & bride to get together under the same roof. Our old traditions consists that the groom see his bride only at wedding night... But don't worry, we eliminated that part from our traditions nowadays!!
Still, the couple have to go to different stages in their relationship. Each stage has its own ceremony!
When the couple decide to get married, they have to tell their families. The groom's family tells the bride's family that they are paying them a visit so they can ask the girl's hand to their son. This ceremony called fét7a. Usually the couples only inform their small family: their grand-parents, the uncles and the ants. It is like an opportunity for the two families to know each other. The groom have to bring a cake along so they can celebrate this occasion.
Now, that the two families introduced and the couple are happy..It is time for bigger celebration. This called Mlék in which the bride can wear a white or silver dress and the two couples wear their rings..Now they are officially fiancé.
After being fiancé for usually over a year ( It differs depend the couples' wish) It is time to get married !! In pretty much all of Tunisian countries, there are 3 nights of celebration before the big night. However, traditions deffer from region to another.
Since I am from Sfax, I am going to tell you about our Sfaxians traditions...Now let's continue, shall we !
First, the couple officially and judicially get married in the Municipality office or in the mosque in which we serve Halwa drajé, which is kind of hard candy with an almond inside. Yet, the married couple won't back home together. It is time for more celebrations..Disco Disco!!
We are party people and we like to take our time, bare that in mind !!
Second day is the Hammem day. In the morning ,we take the bride to the Hammem where she waxes her whole body for the groom and have a long nice loud bath with her female cousins and friends. There mission is to sing and dance celebrating the wedding and keeping the bride entertained!
After that, it is time to head back to the bride's house where there is a big fest ! Then, it is time for the bride to have her hand and feet with Hinna, which is like temporary tattoos, while the other females surrounds her and sing some traditional songs made for the Hinna ceremony.
The next day is the bride's night to celebrate her wedding which Nzoul/ wtiya. In this occasion, she would wear a gold dress. At the end of the party, she'll be showing her Hinna “ tattoos” in a form of a traditional performance.
Closing night and the last night of parties, is the groom's night to celebrate the glorious night that he was waiting for, which called Irs! The bride would be dressed in white, the groom a tuxedo. The whole family should be invited and a band that sing Arab songs and some refreshments should be enough to keep the guest entertained! Before the couple leave, and this is something that happens exclusively in Sfax, the couple would dance a traditional dance. In this performance, the couple, one at a time, would start dancing and jumping on a big fish ..than they do it together! It is like jumping the broom for African-Americans. The fish, in our traditions is to exclude bad luck and jealousy! This performance will be the signal of the end of the party.
Now, and finally, the couple can go to their new home together !!
Tunisian wedding parties are one of those occasions that brings the whole family together. It is about happy times, that's why we like to take our times in celebrating. I cannot think of a better time when my whole family get together, have fun and share the love than wedding parties!!
I have a plenty of cousins so I witnessed a lot of wedding ceremonies..Great souvenirs!!
If you want to attend a Tunisian wedding, you can just ask and no matter where u are in Tunisia they will welcome you even though they don't know you! I am very sure if you know one of the locals and he know about a Tunisia wedding party, he'll be inviting you without even asking ! You may wonder what to bring the couple to be married as a gift ?? Well the best gift you can give is having fun and dance like it is your birthday!! And don't worry about your dancing ..It is pretty simple, one leg to the front, one leg to the back, shake your hips, feel the rhythms and enjoy !