Jamil (22) and Tasmin (17) got engaged in their village.  No wedding is expected before Yasmin completes her high school diploma. Jamil is training to become a chef. They come from very traditional families and as such many of the customs described below have been followed.  Jamil has told his mother about his wish to merry Yasmin, she accepted his choice and went about getting the bride-to-be parents’ approval.

Dreams of marriage often begin in childhood. The concept and rituals of marriage are instilled in people at a young age by family as well as society. In many Arab communities, religion garners great respect. Marriage is considered a sign of maturity because it cannot exist without responsibility and self-control.

The Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, clearly indicates that marriage is something to be shared between men and women. It must be based on love and mercy. Women cannot be forced to marry anyone without their consent. However, one’s parents have as much say in who their children marry.

Frequently, a man will go to his mother and tell her that he loves someone. The mother will ask her neighbors about the family. After being satisfied with this choice, the man’s family will visit the woman’s family to ask for her hand in marriage. A respectable man will be accepted, but only after the acceptance of the woman. At that time, the parents will fix a date to go to the Mosque to mark the beginning of the engagement. At the mosque, the imam (a clergy person) will explain how both are required to follow the Islamic code of morals.

The party itself took place at the bride’s grandparents’ backyard.  Some very lovely old traditions were practiced. A procession of the groom to be, his family and friends moved through the village from his parents’ home to the party’s location, while some of the women were tapping the tambourine and others were singing.

Throughout the event, men of all ages and women (primarily young ones) danced traditional Arabic dances while the music was blasting the air. Unlike Western engagement parties, very little food was served, no drinks either – just a very happy crowd dancing through the night. As for me, I had a blast.  Just another wonderful experience.

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4 Responses to “Israel, Jisr az Zarka – Tasmin and Jamil Engagement Party” Subscribe

  1. Alessandro Dagnino March 1, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Congratulations! Bellisima page.

  2. Dan March 1, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    Good work !

  3. Helmut Schadt March 1, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

    Beautiful pictures, excellent photography and interesting background story. A really wonderful report!

  4. Michael Pappone September 15, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    Your obvious rapport with the subjects of all your photos is remarkable. I know it must take some real effort to gain the trust of so many different folks around the world. In your case, it really pays off beautifully in your photographic work.

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