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Weddings in Gaza: Closing the Coronavirus

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revives traditional Palestinian celebrations

Palestinian husbands are forced to change their plans and bring back beloved but forgotten traditions to celebrate love

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In their humble courtyard, the cries of joy and the voices of women singing traditional Palestinian songs, while the family was celebrating two newlywed young men are about to start life together.

They met at the husband’s house with faces familiar to their close friends and family, away from the hustle and bustle of wedding halls, speakers and modern music.

With regard to closing wedding halls in the Gaza Strip, as part of their efforts to combat the coronavirus, couples resorted to celebrations in their homes, especially those who were engaged before the outbreak.

The Ministry of Health banned all meetings in mid-March and ordered the closure of all halls, restaurants and hotels.

For older women in the family, returning to the most intimate weddings is another occasion for celebration.

“These weddings take us back to the past. This is how I got married,” says the groom’s mother, Izakhar Yassin, who also walks in front of Umm Muhammad.

“My husband’s relatives and a woman around me gathered, singing to me, their voices merged with the oboe and drums, clapped their hands and sang. I really felt like I was a bride among them,” she said to the eyes of the Middle East, describing her wedding. 53 years ago

This is how joy enters the home – not accepting our joy and celebrating it in the rented hall, then returning to our empty homes, and not instilling memories of happiness in it.” .

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Umm Muhammad believes that modern weddings led to the fact that the ceremony of modesty became “absent from the Palestinian imagination” and lost “its traditional Palestinian identity”.

Over time, these young people have been deprived of the magic of traditional holidays, says Umm Muhammad.

For her, the celebration is more beautiful, elegant and economical.

The groom’s mother, stressing the difference in prices, stresses that in the current circumstances, many men in society were “able to marry faster because the financial costs are very small.”

My three children got married, but I didn’t feel happy this time; this joy brought me back to the youth. ”

High marriage fees
The Gaza Strip has been under severe Israeli blockade for nearly 13 years. Those who wish to marry in Gaza must bear the relatively high costs of young people in the face of difficult humanitarian conditions and high unemployment.

The groom’s father, Darwish Yassin, says that the wedding of his other sons costs several times more than that of his son Moon.

Although some financial aspects of marriage remained the same, the terms of Covid-19 eased the financial burden of this event.

Darwish, or Abu Muhammad, explains that the dowry paid to a bride in Gaza ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 Jordanian dinars (about 4000-7000 USD), referring to one of the currencies used in the Palestinian territories. According to him, this amount has not changed, because it is part of the traditional values.

He says that after paying the dowry, the groom must bear the burden of expenses, which is three times the cost of the dowry: paying for the wedding hall, renting buses to transport guests to the wedding, a party and dinner, held by his family the day before the wedding, and on the wedding day – dinner for two families and relatives.

“The crown crisis has canceled all these procedures,” Abu Muhammad says, adding that this change preserves the traditional form of Palestinian weddings, when the family sent food and sweets to neighbors and relatives, and brought the bride to a decorated house and a group of women being held. Parade for several hours.

It was a fun time, he says.

Mooney, a 24-year-old groom, says his wedding was enjoyable and enjoyable in his home among his family.

During his older brothers and sisters’ weddings, Meenen loved her when she remembered his mother and remembered the traditional celebrations of her time.

According to him, the scenes of his wedding correspond to the weddings that his mother described, adding to the happiness he felt at his wedding.

Upon hearing his wedding, some of his friends started thinking about their own plans to create a family.

Palestinian heritage
Sumaya Munther, bride of Mons, 19, says that despite her happiness at the weddings of her older sisters in the fashion halls, her traditional party was the closest, especially the celebration at home where her new life began.

“I was delighted with all the singing and joy in the home that I would live in. I remember every single detail – my laughter and dance in the courtyard of the house in which I will live and form my family. This place will contain many memories that I will tell my children. ”

Monter says the ceremony inspired her friends to consider setting a date for their marriage.

She couldn’t imagine that when all the plans changed, her wedding would be more beautiful than she imagined.

Monter says the traditional songs sung by women in the family were more meaningful.

It was a joy of a lifetime, and it was based on the Palestinian heritage. The songs were close to the heart, carrying the smell of Palestine and Jerusalem.

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