There are various Egyptian traditions that were inherited through generations. One of these traditions is the Nubian wedding that is different from the weddings that are conducted in Egypt. They celebrate 7 days for the bride and 7 days for groom.
Wedding among the Nubians is considered as parents’ responsibility but uncles participate in this responsibility according to their wedding system. The system is much more traditional: for a bride who is married by her cousin, her dowry is less than when she marries outside the families. The Nubians present gifts and money for the newlyweds.
Wedding celebrations in Nubia last for 7 nights; on the first night, the newlyweds celebrates “Al- Harera” days with their right hands wrapped with red strings with blue stone and a coin of one quarter pound category to ward off envy. Because the houses there are too close, the groom’s or the bride’s street is swept by the mate.
On daily basis during the celebration, the groom family goes to the bride’s house known as “Al-Ashwarya” and sing Nubian songs while offering her presents carried in a wicker bowl “Al-Karg” and “Al-Konty.” As for the bride family, they will be waiting for the groom’s family to welcome them and give them a bowl of peanuts, dates and popcorn “Al-Walel” then they will start singing the Nubian songs that praise the bride and her groom. This night ends very early than ‘Henna’ and wedding nights.
Meanwhile, the newlyweds’ house is prepared in specific decoration. It consists of bed, kitchen, storeroom and a shrine. The Nubian bed is famously known as “Al-Angreeb” and it is made of woods, palm leaf, and chips of cowhide without using any glue, screws or painting the wood. The screws are used after soaking it in water. When it dries, it becomes harder. It worth noting that, the origin of “Al-Angreeb” is Sudanese.
Regarding the money that is given to the bride on the afternoon, there is a celebration known as “Al-Noqta”; the groom sits on the ground and his aunt or grandmother paints Henna on his hand and leg, beside him, there is a white bowl full of water where coins and money are dropped in it and later are taken by one of the groom’s family.
Because the Nile River is of paramount importance, the newlyweds have to get into it hopefully to live happy for ever.
After the Nubian wedding, a new tradition known as “Al-Geeld” starts; the bride family serves the groom family for 7 days as they present noodles with milk. Stuffed pigeon is their most important meal. During this stage, the bride’s mother makes feasts and the neighbors come to help her.
This tradition was cancelled by many tribes as it is very expensive. However, other tribes adhered to it but nowadays it lasts only for three days.
The Nubians refuse to complete any marriage if the brides or the grooms are not from Nubia, it dates back to the ancient Nubian region; fortune and tribe presidency are transferred through the female branch in the family. Hence, the ancient Nubian was very careful while choosing who will his son or daughter get married to. This tradition still exists even though many Nubians have started to abandon it.
Contributed by: Menna Seliem
Read more about Nobian traditions