Where and how do Moroccans meet. Can they live without an officially registered marriage and attitudes towards early marriage
How do Moroccans meet? Is there sex before marriage? And can a couple live without an officially registered marriage? I’ll talk about the pitfalls of engagements, dating venues, blood and early marriages, and the atrocious customs associated with weddings that happen in today’s world.
Arranged weddings no longer exist in the big cities of Morocco. Urban youth choose their own partners, sometimes even against the will of their parents. However, they do not meet as we do and the sooner the couple is engaged, the better, because if they are spotted by neighbors, friends or relatives, it would be a great shame for the girl’s family. That’s why very often the young people announce their engagement by gathering many guests, to give the publicity that if you see these two together, you know that they are not engaged in haram (sinful acts that are forbidden in Islam) and the relatives know about it.
There are cases where an engagement was made, but the wedding itself was not played until 5-7 years later. Usually, the parents ask for this time, so that the bride could graduate before starting married life, and the guy could save money for mahr (obligatory gift for a Muslim bride; the amount is agreed upon before marriage and can be paid at once or during their life together).
Not all engaged couples reach the next stage – the wedding. There is a similarity with Russian youth. When they are engaged, lovers can spend time together, go on dates, make plans for the future, or, in our words, date. Whether it comes to bedtime is up to them.
Of course there are couples who don’t rush to get engaged and hide from prying eyes, walking in the isolation of parks, beaches, etc. That’s why you may see police officers regularly checking out remote, and seemingly deserted, places. They just know what to look for.
wedding tradition-the bride must sit on the throne
So where do Moroccans meet these days? Studies, weddings, mutual acquaintances, neighbors. Among the atypical places for us to meet is the hammam. A trip to the bath would seem to be such an intimate thing, but … In the winter in Morocco it is so cold in the houses that locals prefer to take a bath in public hammams. You can wash yourself and wash the bones, and learn the latest news, and… look for a bride for your son. It is convenient to see all the advantages and disadvantages of the future daughter-in-law.
A hammam, where you can relax while receiving spa procedures.
An unusual topic is also the wedding between cousins and other relatively close relatives. Previously, blood marriages were performed to preserve family wealth. The meaning of such ties has changed over time, but this tradition has not outlived itself in the villages.
The horrors of marriage in Morocco do not end there. The subject of the age of marriage varies greatly.
Given the desire of girls to marry wealthy, and Morocco is not a rich country, men often marry at the age of 40 and above, marrying, of course, to a young woman. Not without exceptions, of course, when “with a sweetheart in the shack. But they usually marry believers, for whom money is not of paramount importance, or foreign women, who, according to their mentality, are used to making money in a partnership.
The tradition of early marriages remained only in the villages. According to the customs, as soon as a girl starts menstruating, she is given in marriage. This is not a rule, but nevertheless a big problem in the Moroccan family code. There is a village in the Atlas Mountains where children aged 8-10 must spend their wedding night together and after that they go off to live with their families. When they grow up, they have the right to go back to that partner or divorce and choose another one. It makes your hair stand on end, doesn’t it?
Another shocking custom is getting married when a minor is raped in order to avoid shame and punishment. The parents of the victims insisted on marrying the rapist, because it was approved by the Moroccan Penal Code until 2014.
And lastly, a very poignant topic: virginity. I suppose you are very curious: is there still a tradition of showing the sheet after the first night from the marriage bed. In the cities, no. But there are also villages, where such quirks abound.
However, both village girls and city ones observe their purity. It is believed that a good groom can be chosen only if she has a hymen. As for men, it is certainly an important factor for the vast majority.
Well, once upon a time there lived a very religious boy. He protected his innocence, he only wanted to make his wife happy. So he decided to get married, but he couldn’t choose the purest girl in the area. He went to the imam (the spiritual head of the religious community, he leads all prayers and sermons in the mosque) from the local mosque to ask for advice. The imam tells him, “I know a parishioner, a very decent and respected man. So he has a daughter to marry.” The potential bridegroom was delighted, learned the address, went straight to his father to arrange an acquaintance.
And dating takes place exactly as in “Clone” shows: the groom comes, allegedly to the head of the family, and the girl with a tray sent to bring tea. So they look at each other. They even let them talk a little and arose between them sympathy. The wedding is on!
Everyone is happy, everyone is happy. And then on the wedding night, the groom is embarrassed by the lack of any trace of intimacy. He immediately locks the bride in the house and goes to her father with a showdown. How is it that he gave his honor to some harlot?
During the showdown it turns out that the girl was involved in equestrian sports as a child and thus somehow damaged her hymen. The groom was not satisfied with this argument, because he was brazenly lied to. He found nothing better to do than to retaliate for the hidden information, whatever it was. How? He raped his wife for days until he got tired of it, and when he got tired of it, he divorced her by repeating “Divorce!” three times and kicked her out to her father’s house, thinking he had done the right thing.
the mosque inside
So, you can draw your own conclusions.
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5 wedding traditions of Morocco, which the Russian brides lack
The bride here is a real queen who is dressed up, changed, and literally carried in her arms since morning.
Photo by Els Fattah on Unsplash
Despite all the richness of Russian wedding traditions, the modern celebration in Russia is more and more reminiscent of the European one. Therefore, peoples and countries where the ceremony of entering into family life is carried out with the observance of ancient rituals are of particular interest. One of them is Morocco.
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Here are a few Moroccan wedding traditions that Russian women would like to borrow:
The bride spends the evening on the throne
The Moroccan wedding ceremony begins with four men carrying the bride into the banquet hall on a special stretcher, which is decorated with carvings, expensive fabrics and filled with pillows. They sit her on the “amaria,” a kind of throne on a hill, near which the groom is already waiting for her. This ritual shows how easily a girl enters married life. What woman doesn’t dream of being carried out on a throne at least once?
Everyone is courting the bride.
According to Moroccan customs, on her wedding day the bride is bathed in milk, and afterwards her body is painted with henna. For this, all the women she knows gather in the bride’s house and help her. Then the bride puts on a wedding dress, makeup and hair.
Another peculiarity of the Moroccan bride’s morning is that she is not allowed to do her own makeup and hair. It is the responsibility of a specially invited woman or someone from the family. So the girl just needs to relax and trust the professionals.
Russian brides can only dream of not worrying about anything and feel like a queen surrounded by an entourage.
A sea of gifts from the future husband’s relatives
In Morocco, a few days before the main ceremony, the matchmaking takes place and the groom’s family presents gifts to the bride. Among them are symbolic: milk – a symbol of purity and innocence, orange blossoms, henna, sugar, symbolizing a happy family life, and precious: expensive fabrics, perfumes, jewelry. All gifts are presented on silver trays. How not to feel like a real queen here?
In truth, the Moroccan guests are not as generous. One of the brides said:
“There were over a hundred guests, and the presents were two sets of dishes, three sets of glasses (we have them in the supermarket for three dollars), a photo frame and two blankets. The first shock was immediately followed by the second: the gifts were given to my husband’s parents. They also printed them all, reporting back only in the morning: “Look – you got this and this.
Another nice rite is the dowry party. Here gifts are given to both newlyweds. The main criterion is that they should be things and furniture necessary for the future home of the couple. About the Russian young family so can take care only if the parents of the newlyweds are wealthy people.
No need to agonize and choose one single dress
At Moroccan weddings, the newlyweds change clothes more often than they eat. A bride can change her outfit up to seven times. For example, Valery Meladze’s daughter Inga married a Moroccan and changed three outfits during the whole celebration: a delicate white dress, a black dress with sequins and a white jumpsuit. Russian brides only dream of sparing themselves weeks or even months of choosing a single dress that is comfortable, beautiful, and inexpensive.
The traditional bride’s dress is usually embroidered with seashells, which symbolize purity and chastity, and decorated with flowers. The bridal gowns are always very bright, expensive looking and decorated with precious stones and metals. Only here you will see gold belts and gold bracelets as thick as a finger.
“Here, by the way, the attitude to weddings is, to put it mildly, special: I haven’t seen such ostentatiousness anywhere else. They will give their last penny, take credits, and sit on milk and eggs, but the wedding is celebrated with a change of five caftans for the bride (the more times the clothes are changed, the higher the status of the couple),” shares a Ukrainian who married a Moroccan.
It is not necessary to have everything in one day.
The peculiarity of the Moroccan wedding is a set of rituals and traditions, and if the newlyweds tried to fit everything in one day, they simply would not have time to have fun. So here the celebration lasts from three to seven days.
“We had our wedding at my mother-in-law’s cousin’s house…The men sat separately from the women. The women were in the house. The men celebrated in the garden. This is done for the convenience of the women: they can take off their hijabs and have a good time dancing … Then the motorcade with the newlyweds drives them to their new home, everyone follows and honks, and the next day they continue the celebration,” said a Moroccan bride.
In general, this tradition is similar to the Russian tradition, where the first day is solemn, in a restaurant and beautiful outfits, and the second day is home, out of town or in their own dacha in the narrow circle of the closest people. It is true that for Russian weddings, the presence of the newlyweds on day 2 is not at all necessary. But if brides from Russia got married in Morocco, they would be bathed in congratulations, attention and glory for a few more days.
A Moroccan wedding is a very opulent and colorful celebration that cannot be contained in one day. The bride here is a real queen, who is dressed up, changed clothes, and carried in her arms from the morning. It is every woman’s dream to live at least one day like this.