Marriage in Algeria, like other countries of the Maghreb, has the distinction of being celebrated for several days.
But unlike the neighboring countries, the Algerian marriage takes place at the same time for the future husband and the future bride.
In this article, we will follow the Algerian marriage of Khotba to Fatha.
Algerian wedding: The Khotba or marriage request
The Algerian marriage always begins with Khotba. The future husband must ask the hand of his future wife to his family.
Once the two families have entered into the agreement, the bride may be offered the so-called “Khatem El Kelma” or “Speech Ring” as proof of official commitment.
In the aftermath, the dates of the wedding are fixed and the time between the engagement and the marriage varies according to the financial means, the family circumstances etc.
Generally, the two families fix a year between the Khotba and the wedding celebration, because according to the Arab saying “The wedding party lasts one night, its preparations a year”.
Traditional preparations for Algerian marriage
Algerian marriage differs according to the region where it is celebrated.
Preparation of the wedding meal
If the wedding is celebrated with respect for tradition, meals are all made at home. The preparation lasts two days.
Men from both families sacrifice a sheep or cow according to the number of wedding guests. While the women of both families prepare the meals, pastries, and cakes.
That day is exclusively dedicated to relaxation and pre-wedding beauty rituals. The bride goes to the Hammam, as the Maghrebi tradition desires, accompanied by the women of her family in a procession of religious songs, prayers and youyous.
The ceremony of “El Khouara”
This wedding ceremony is organized and prepared by the mother of the bride for friends and family. The future bride will parade in different oriental and traditional dresses in front of her guests.
The family distributes dragees, drinks, and pastries.
Henna meal or “El taâliq”
During this 5th day of celebration of the Algerian wedding, the women of the groom’s family draw the henna tattoo of the bride, as a welcome.
The future Algerian wife is dressed in a traditional wedding dress named “Charb Ezdaf”.
Also, the women of the husband’s family offer the bride a white suitcase or “jehaz”. This one contains underwear, petticoats, perfumes and so on.
The tradition of Algerian marriage says that the contents of the bag must remain secret and will not be revealed until the laying of the henna. Following this, guests will have to offer gifts to the bride.
Algerian wedding: Meeting of the two spouses
After being coiffed and made up, the future wife will finally go to her in-laws.
The husband must go and get his future wife, accompanied by a procession of cars decorated with flowers and ribbons whose klaxons will alert the neighborhood.
Last day of Algerian marriage: civil and religious marriage
A last meal is given to pay homage to the parents of the bride, that come to see their daughter.
The religious wedding or “Fatha” is celebrated by an Imam at the bride’s parents home.
Once the religious marriage is formalized, the civil marriage can be celebrated.