17 April 2013
Preserving and Celebrating the Palestinian Culture through Weddings
Bethlehem University campus became very colorful this week when dozens of students put on their traditional dress to enact a traditional Palestinian wedding.
The Bethlehem University student Senate organizes this annual wedding ceremony to celebrate and preserve Palestinian traditions and cultural heritage.
Mainly orchestrated by a professional group, the wedding began at the main gate with a procession lead by the bride and the groom and went through the campus to reach the auditorium where hundreds of students gathered to celebrate.
Although traditional wedding practices are influenced by religion and location, several rituals and practices that are culture-bound that most Palestinians follow regardless of their religion. The set of rituals can last for several days. Traditionally, the groom’s family will invite close relatives and friends to evening dance, music, and food for almost an entire week before the wedding day.
Henna is one of the most important rituals, and is practiced by both the bride and the groom. However, the bride’s is much more significant and serves a different purpose; hers is essentially cosmetic and complements her beauty after the process of hair removal from the limbs and face. The Henna party is usually held on the night before the wedding.
In years past, the entire village would participate in the wedding and also contribute to the costs. Today, wedding halls are barely large enough to accommodate the families of the bride and the groom and their friends. A typical wedding in Bethlehem will often have 500 to 600 guests, with a lot of singing and dancing by family and friends of the bride and groom.