10 Bizarre Muslim Wedding Rituals

At PMW we like to share ideas for planning weddings. Here are some Muslim wedding rituals some of which are common with other cultures. We do not advocate all of these (especially bride kidnapping), but they are humorous, revealing and fascinating.

Photo by Jakob Montrasio available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license
  1. If carrying the bride across the threshold is a part of your culture, make sure you are in good physical shape, you have practice, and you don’t trip.
  2. Although kidnapping your bride is illegal, if your culture mandates it make sure it’s the right woman. In Kyrgyzstan, there is a myth that tears on your wedding day will make your marriage happy. Parents will usually consent to a proposal especially if the young woman was crying.
  3. Although in Western Culture some brides or grooms try to lose weight before the big day, in other cultures they try to gain weight. In cultures who experience food scarcity, like Mauritania, full-bodied women represent prosperity and luck (hopefully good luck). To encourage the look they may at times be force-fed. Losing weight or gaining weight, either way, make sure your wedding dress fits on the day.
  4. If crying is a part of your culture at weddings, make sure to drink lots of water and avoid dehydration on the big day. In Western China the Tuija bride is expected to weep an hour a day for one month before the wedding. Family members are encouraged to cry too. In other South Asian cultures the bride and family weep after the wedding at the time of separation from the family.
  5. If shooting arrows at the bride, make sure they don’t have arrowheads, and nobody gets hurt.
    The Yugur people in China have a custom where the groom fires arrows at the bride to be. Fortunately they are not tipped and no brides are known to have been harmed by this ritual.
  6. If placing garlands on the bride and groom is a part of your tradition (as it is in many Asian and other cultures) make sure the bride or groom does not have allergies or they have so many put on them that with the weight they feel suffocated.

    Photo by chispita_666 available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license
  7. If performing the Arsi Mushaf (Musaf) make sure you are looking good and on your best behavior. The Arshi Mushaf is where the bride and groom sit next to each other for the first time and a veil covers their heads. Based on the culture they may read verses of the Quran to protect them, as well as look into a mirror and see their image as husband and wife for the first time. This ceremony may be combined with other rituals like the exchange of garlands or sharing of sweets or sweet drink.
  8. If the bride’s entrance is using the Zaffe, make sure the troop are well coordinated. The Lebanese Zaffe is a cultural dance common at Arab weddings. The bride may also be carried on the shoulders of the Zaffe team and brought in as a part of the wedding procession.
  9. If stealing the grooms shoes is a part of your culture, either have enough cash to get them back, good negotiating skills  or an alternate pair. Stealing shoes is a common ritual in South Asian weddings where the sister of the bride and her friends hide the grooms shoes. The groom in turn has to pay a ransom which is negotiated between the two parties until it comes to resolution. Sorry it is all cash, no plastic accepted.
  10. Order lots of milk before the wedding day. Some bathe in it, other drink it before the honeymoon night. Moroccan women take a milk bath before the wedding day. In South Asian cultures, the bride and groom are offered hot milk before their first night together.

As a bonus for good luck, Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day. Ouch! Any rituals you would like to share? Check out our Bizarre Muslim Wedding Rituals board on Pinterest.










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