The traditional wedding in Qatar originally lasts for several days and includes several different ceremonies and parties. Although today, many Qatari couples choose a more modern Western-style wedding, without so much pomp and hundreds of wedding guests invited. But some Qatari wedding traditions deserve remembering and honoring, and we’re glad to share them with you.
Henna party for the bride
Many Arab countries have a strong tradition of covering women’s bodies with henna drawings for special occasions. In Qatar, brides also organize a henna party before the wedding day. Her female relatives and friends come to her house and celebrate. The bride’s hands and feet are painted with henna patterns by pro artists. Women eat, drink soft drinks, sing, dance, laugh, etc.
Zarif dance for the groom
While the bride and her ladies have their henna party, the groom and his fellows also celebrate in their own way. These gentlemen gather at the groom’s house. Among the most popular activities are a sword dance called “Zarif dance”, rifle or trumpet performance, and men’s dancing and singing a blessing to the groom. Of course, delicious food and good music are included in the celebration as well.
The wedding ceremony itself in Qatar lasts rather long – about 4-6 hours. The celebration begins separately for men and women. But later, the closest males of the bride and groom join the ladies at their location to celebrate together, communicate, and feel that they’re family from now on.
A Qatari wedding feast is usually plentiful. Lots of tasty and great-looking foods are served, including roasted lamb, rice cooked with traditional spices, seafood stews, and a wide variety of Qatari traditional sweets. For example, a mehalabiya (pudding made from rose water and pistachios) and umm ali (bread pudding with nuts and white raisins) are typically seen as the local wedding dinners.
After the first wedding night, the groom offers his wife a number of costly presents – jewelry, décor items, perfumes, cars, money, etc. The husband leaves his wife with all these goods and goes to the traditional breakfast and prayer with his father, where the father asks him if everything went well with his new wife.