Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Wedding Season

girlsjumping, originally uploaded by Miloflamingo.
It was interesting to me when I first moved to Alexandria that most social events in Egypt (even at that time children's birthday parties) were held in the evening or at night. Now dinner parties and adult functions made sense, although many ended up being attended by sleepy children who were with parents. In the late 80's having a babysitter stay at home with your kids was a rather novel idea in Egypt. My children had been raised with early bedtimes, so night was not their finest hour, and my husband and I quickly broke in a set of babysitters from his office staff. It didn't hurt that we had our first baladi dog at the time, a spayed female called Pepsi, who was so devoted to the children that if we were not home, the "sitter" could only go from the chair in front of the television to the kitchen to make a cup of tea without being shadowed by a German Shepherd sized bodyguard.

One of the most interesting, and sometimes most dreaded, of social spectacles in Egypt is the wedding, most of which in the countryside are held in summer for the balmy night temperatures. City folk hold their weddings at homes, in restaurants, or at hotels, depending on how much the budget can afford. So they are not so bound by the season. A truly posh wedding here in one of the ballrooms at a five star hotel with a catered dinner can cost as much as a small house. I've told my kids since they were young that they will never get one of those weddings. These fancy society weddings tend, on the whole, to be rather boring as well. There is usually a singer and a belly dancer for entertainment and the entire program is videotaped to the nth degree.

Country weddings tend to be rather louder, more interesting, and are held outdoors. They tend not to stretch on into the early morning hours since farmers still have cows to milk early on the next day. Our neighbours, the family of the area power structure, are marrying off their last son this Thursday and the festivities should be something to see. The bride is from a neighbouring village and will be picked up in a rented Mercedes and led in a parade that will be heralded by a rented Hummer. I asked why horses weren't being used, but the distances are too long.

My daughter has one of her friends from New York arriving on Wednesday night, so Emily will move directly from jet lag to village wedding. What a culture shock. Should be quite an evening. I'll take some photos and post them. We were even honoured with written invitations to the do and are reallly looking forward to it.

I've inadvertantly been part of wedding processions in this area when out riding in the afternoons and evenings. Horses just love it when a line of honking cars comes up behind them on a one lane dirt road. The clapping of the men, the beating of the drums, and the laughing and singing women and children piled into pickups, dump trucks and on donkey carts make for an unusual parade. I usually try to get out of the way as quickly as possible, but a couple of times that meant just trotting in front of the procession for about half a kilometre. The participants were generally so cheerful that they didn't mind our slowness and in fact were pleased to have the horses as outriders. The horses weren't all that thrilled.


Anonymous said...

Muslims are killers. Egyptians are rats. Why be a killer rat???? Open your eyes...then you'll leave.

Anonymous said...

Muslims are killers. Egyptians are rats. Why be a killer rat???? Open your eyes...then you'll leave.

Anonymous said...

To the "Anonymous" with douple postins.I don't know what kind of person you are, but I have a general idea. It's unfortunate that low life forms like you spoile this awesome postings with that kind of garbage.

Shawn Lucas & Christine Mullen said...

I agree that comment was uninformed and ignorant. I've only just found this journal, but I have a feeling that I will be visiting it a lot. I love learning about different cultures.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Maryanne, those ignorant idiots (i.e. the first anonymous that double posted) just keep coming back to your blog. They really desire your attention don't they? Unfortunate kids. I doubt they have the guts to even stand in front of the Muslims or Egyptians and tell them that - but instead they can only smother dirty comments like a sissy to an intellectual. Like I said before, GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE. You immature piece of shit.


Skadi said...

Let me guess Anonymous #1, you're a good Christian aren't you? *snorts and rolls eyes* Now I am not attacking Christianity at all as I was raised Catholicf. However, I am no longer a Christian, and ignorant cretins like that person just reinforce why I am not (I'm Kemetic Orthodox)

Em Hotep,

Ashley said...

I would love to see a wedding like this... hell, I would love to just go to Egypt!

BM, The Necessary Movement said...

To go to Egypt would be wonderful!

SueB said...

Too bad about the first comment. Some people are full of hate.

As to the comment on Christianity....Perhaps Anonymous is a "fundamentalist" Christian. That group is very narrow and certain that they alone have all the answers. (I am a Christian but have much more tolerant views. I know I don't have all the answers.)

I suppose all religions are like that. Muslim included. Some are extremists and some aren't. A lesson there, I believe.

Dino said...

This is obviously a very popular blog for people to read and comment upon. I need all bloggers out there to help me out. I am trying to figure out why people blog. Please go to http://ydoublog.blogspot.com and answer my question. It would be greatly appreciated

Sister Soljah said...

Sounds awesome!

Sar-bear said...

I really can't wait to hear how your visitor enjoys the wedding! I love learning about new cultures, different types of people and it sounds absolutely intriguing...I really enjoy reading your blog:)
Take care!

Shoes said...

I applaud your postings. I find it so very interesting to read about other cultures with out the biased lens of the media. I think it is important for us mostly ignorant Americans (sadly, myself included) to learn the truth about other citizens of this world. I challenge us all to open our eyes and hearts.

Anonymous said...

I love Egypt & the people I am planning getting married there on May 1st 2008.

First Anonymous probably has not even been to Egypt.

Mai said...

I was surfing your blog by chance and the first comment of Mr. Anonymous really offended me!
I'm sure that you are an ignorant and illiterate person that did not bother enough to educate himself about the Egyptian culture or Islam before making such a comment! Coz if you had, i'm sure your opinion would have been different! I only feel sorry for you!

Egypt like any other country has it's pros and cons, people in general are not all good or all bad...So stop making generic judgements about people you don't even know!

Thank you Maryanne for the post...

A proud Egyptian!