How to dance at an arabic wedding

7 Arab Muslim Wedding Traditions

Arab Muslim weddings are lavish celebrations steeped in history and tradition. While the specific customs vary across countries in the Levant, from Lebanon or Palestine all the way to Morocco, there are certain cultural and religious rituals that remain the same.

“If attending an Arab Muslim wedding for the first time, be open-minded to different cultures and how they celebrate,” says Sheikh Main Al-Qudah.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Main Al-Qudah is a Houston-based sheikh and an assistant professor of Islamic studies at the American Open University. He is a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence and Muslim family law.

Ahead, learn all about the most common traditions to expect at an Arab Muslim wedding.

01 of 07


Getty Images/Peter Dazeley 

The tolbe or tulba is a pre-wedding ceremony where the groom formally asks the bride's parents for her hand in marriage. If the families give their blessing, a short prayer from the Holy Quran called “Surah Al-Fatiha” is recited by everyone present. This is followed by a presentation of tea, coffee, or cordial and sweets that both families enjoy together.

02 of 07

Katb Al-kitaab

The katb Al-kitaab is the marriage ceremony. During the ceremony, the sheikh lays out the terms of the marriage, and a contract is signed by both parties. Here, it is important for guests to dress conservatively. Both men and women should cover their arms and legs and women should wear a headscarf.

03 of 07


In Islam, the Mahr is the dowry or payment a groom must provide to his bride. The Mahr is presented during the katb Al-kitaab. It symbolizes love, respect, and courtesy towards the woman. It is something valuable she can take with her in the event of divorce.

04 of 07


The zaffe is the newlywed couple's grand entrance to their reception. It typically starts with the bride’s father walking his daughter to her groom. It is then followed by a troupe of drummers that play traditional, upbeat Arabic music. During the zaffe, rings are changed from the right hand to the left hand. The female attendees can be heard making a high-pitched ululation with their tongue, called the zaghrouta, which is a cheer of celebration.

05 of 07


In most Arab weddings, you won’t see many guests sitting down. A popular folk dance called dabke is performed by professional dancers and then the wedding guests. Guests will dance shoulder to shoulder in a circle with each other. If attending an Egyptian wedding, guests are likely to see belly dancers instead.

06 of 07

Cake Cutting

Arab Muslim couples cut their multi-tiered wedding cake with a large sword passed down to the groom from his family for his wedding day. At more ornate celebrations, sparklers might even emerge from the cake.

07 of 07

Barmet Al-aroos


This tradition is the final farewell to the newlywed couple before they depart their wedding venue in a flashy and highly decorated vehicle. Friends and family of the couple follow them back to their home or hotel in a parade of their own cars, playing loud music and honking all the way to announce to the world that the couple in front of them just got married.

5 Zaffeh Grand Entrances You Will See At An Arabic Wedding – Zaffa & Dabke Dance Group – Zaffah Dabka Dancing Performances

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There are many special aspects of an Arabic wedding. One of the most exciting moments is the zaffeh entrance. These zaffe groups work hard to bring your friends and family members together to celebrate your special day. Here are five zaffeh grand entrances you will see at an arabic wedding.

Zaffeh Performance

A traditional zaffeh performance is filled with many different members. Originating in the Middle Eastern countries of the Levant, these performers use Arabic music and movements in their every wedding entrance. The musicians of the group enter with different unique instruments, such as Arabic drums and various string instruments. Then, there is the dabke leader, who begins the dance. The rest of the dancers follow the leader, synchronizing with his every movement as they make their entrance. Zaffeh performances are one of the most exciting parts of an Arabic wedding.

House Zaffeh

A house zaffeh is an important moment for the bride and groom. This is the moment that the groom sees the bride in her dress for the first time. It also represents the beginning of their marriage. Zaffeh groups start off the wedding by leading the bride and groom in. Filled with spiritual energy and excitement, the group plays traditional music and dance down the aisle. Starting the wedding with this entrance brings the guests into the celebration with the future married couple.

Hall Entrance Zaffeh

A hall entrance zaffeh occurs after the wedding. Once the guests have all arrived at the reception and have sat down, it is time to announce the arrival of the bride and groom. This is a high energy entrance, lead in by drummers and singers. These performers are followed by dabke dancers practicing their traditional dance. Many performers, such as dabka groups in New York, are well practiced because of the different Arabic festivals in surrounding areas. The bride and groom follow the group, continuing the dance and inviting their guests to join.

Post Dinner Zaffeh

After your guests are finished eating, there are often post dinner zaffeh performances. For this entrance, there is a large focus on the dancers. First, the girl zaffa dancers enter, wearing bright, elegant dresses and scarves full of many different colors. Next, the men enter, playing Arabic drums and string instruments. These performers dance alone at first. But, they eventually start inviting guests on the dance floor to join them. There, they teach the guests their dance, and together they dance as a larger group.

Bride’s Zaffeh

Another amazing zaffa entrance is the bride’s zaffeh. This is a special moment for the bride, and all of the focus is on her. As she enters her reception, she is surrounded and led in by male dancers following the music from an Arabic DJ. Eventually, the groom joins them, and invites his wife to join their wedding celebration. The bride’s zaffe is a special moment of the wedding, because it brings back the traditional meaning of Arabic dance. In ancient culture, it was a ritual danced by women to celebrate their bodies. Today, at Arabic weddings, this same meaning is celebrated during the bride’s zaffe.

There are may zaffeh entrances to be seen at Arabic weddings. Whether they lead into the wedding or the reception, they are an incredible addition to every event. With their applied energy and excitement, you will be sure to be amazed with their performance. Zaffeh entrances are a great aspect of every Arabic wedding.


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The Arabian wedding and their traditions


Every religion and culture has its own wedding customs. In this article we will talk about the Arab wedding, we will talk about its customs, outfits and unusual rituals.

Every religion and culture has special traditions and customs for the wedding day. In this post, we will talk about Arab weddings, to learn about their laws, customs, outfits and rituals.

It is important to remember that Arab culture is very broad, so each country has its own rituals, although there are some common elements.

A distinctive feature of an Arab wedding is that the woman , the bride, is in the center of attention, which makes her worthy of her future husband. A typical Arab wedding is a fun party with lots of dancing, golden flowers, Arabic sweets and national Arabic treats.

National Traditions

  • The bride is in the spotlight , and her mother, sisters, cousins ​​and other relatives should take part in her wedding preparations and be responsible for all her clothes. In addition to helping her in everything, they must help the bride go through the path of "symbolic death" until she reaches maturity, that is, the moment of marriage.
  • In Arabic tradition, the use of Hamman 9 is prescribed for cleansing the bride 0027 (Arab bath). The first rites of marriage are very important. The bride will be accompanied by hairdressers, make-up artists and dressmakers who will help her look beautiful on her wedding day. In addition, various henna symbols are painted on the arms and hands to ward off evil spirits.
  • The bride is seen off and accompanied by women with candles, incense, songs and dances that emphasize her beauty and hint at the upcoming celebration.
  • The mother-in-law gives the bride a tray with keys, bread and milk. The keys are harmony in the family, and food is prosperity.
  • An Arab wedding symbolizes not only the union of the bride and groom, but also the union of families, which is why it is so important that members of two families exchange gifts.
  • The groom and the men accompanying him are responsible for the reception of the bride.
  • During the dance, the women make a circle and during the dance they make exotic movements, and then the men circle around them.
  • Arab weddings are very colorful, which is why they are so attractive to those who have never been to them, and dancing is one of the most striking elements.
Photo Via: viajesmarruecos.comPhoto Via: Vitaliy Lyubezhanin

Arabic wedding dress

Dress is simple, men usually dress in white thaub or suit and tie. Brides wear abaya (a tunic of different colors), a veil and a niqab (a veil that covers the face, leaving an opening for the eyes).

Guests usually wear white or bright dresses, often shiny, tight at the waist, with a cape studded with rhinestones. You can also often find dresses with cutouts in the front and back, with luxurious decorations. As for makeup, the girls' eyes are always brightly made up, their lips are emphasized with a red pencil and lipstick. Hair is always beautifully styled and many Arab beauties love voluminous hairstyles.

Photo Via:


Before the wedding, the bride applies henna tattoos on arms and legs, they serve to scare away evil spirits . Each symbol drawn has a meaning, some of them: a circle is a symbol of complete perfection, a triangle with an upward pointing vertex symbolizes fire and male power, a descending triangle represents water and female sexuality.

Photo Via: Ramiz Dedakovic

Family union

Arab weddings pay a lot of attention to links between two families . Hence the tradition that the mother-in-law should present the bride with a tray of milk and dates, a bunch of keys and a loaf of bread.

The bride and groom offer each other dates and milk, which symbolize the bride's good luck and happiness. The keys are a sign of welcome in a new home, and bread baked from flour by the mother-in-law symbolizes the union between the two families.

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how grooms, brides and guests dance in different countries?

Every country in the world has its own traditions and customs related to the wedding dance. Modern newlyweds tend to deviate from customs, but still sometimes observe them at a celebration, in which the older generation willingly supports them. Therefore, today we want to tell a lot of interesting things about the wedding dances of the peoples of the world.

The team of the portal will tell you about how the wedding dance of newlyweds and guests takes place in different countries, what it means, what meaning it has. You will be surprised to know that even in the most conservative countries people love to have fun at the celebration, and dancing is the best way!

Before we begin to analyze the most popular options, it is worth noting that the peoples of the world do not have so many purely wedding dances, and at the celebration it is often customary to perform simply traditional figures to folk music. However, the wedding dance is an obligatory part of the entertainment program, and this applies not only to the young.

Money dance from Poland

This tradition is not so many years old. It arose only at the end of the 80s of the last century in Poland, when guests paid for the right to dance with one of the newlyweds. Then it was transformed into the first wedding dance, during which banknotes were put into the pockets and belts of the bride and groom. Today this tradition has spread all over the world, only it has changed a little: young people immediately put on garlands of money and dance with them. The meaning of this whole action is to wish the newly-made spouses wealth and prosperity.

Arab dances of zaffa and dabke

The tradition of the first wedding dance in Arab countries is not so common, because the newlyweds can see and touch each other only at the ceremony, after which they can go to different halls for the rest of the evening. But what the Arabs love is group fun dances like dabke or zaffa. You can meet them at celebrations in Palestine, Jordan, Libya, Syria and other Arab countries.

Scottish wedding dancing

If you think that the bride and groom in Scotland perform a wedding dance reel - when the dancers stand side by side facing the hall and actively dance only with their feet something like tap dancing, only beating the beat sharper. The bride then dances with a person who has the "highest rank" among the guests, such as some high-ranking relative or father.

The last dance is performed with swords and is called highland - this is an active type of wedding dance, during which you need to jump quite high. The music for the wedding dance is usually performed live, with all guests singing the traditional song "Old Lang Sign".

Keili dance in the countries of Great Britain and Ireland

In Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, the Keili dance is very popular at weddings. It is similar to reel, as it is also a type of step dance, but there are slight differences. The choice of song depends on what meaning the newlyweds want to put into the dance. For example, the song "The Siege of Ennis" is a tribute to the ancestors who gave their lives in the war.

Tarantella dance in Italy

In Italy, it is customary to dance at celebrations not to sensual compositions, but to traditional cheerful music. The most popular species is the Neapolitana tarantella. The music for the wedding dance is chosen incendiary.

Jewish wedding dance chora, krenzl and others

One of the main features of Jewish weddings is national dances. They are performed not only in Israel, but also among Orthodox Jews throughout the world. In addition, in Israel, traditions are observed not only by Jews, but also by many other citizens. Jews have quite a lot of wedding dances:

  • krenzl - dance of the mother of the bride with a wreath of flowers, and the bride and other daughters, if any, can dance with her;
  • joy of the bride - the bride stands in the center, and the guests dance around her with various objects: posters, flags, etc.;
  • mitzvah - relatives and rabbis first dance in front of the bride, then with the groom, and at the end the newlyweds dance together;
  • pinky - the parents of the bride and groom dance together, but only if this is the wedding of their last children, and all other children are already married;
  • chorus - everyone performs this dance in a circle to the song “Hava Nagila”, then in the middle of the song the young people are seated on chairs and lifted up, while the bride and groom hold on to the ends of a white scarf.

It is the Jewish wedding dance of the choir that is the most important at the celebration. It symbolizes that the young are the king and queen, and their destinies are now bound by an invisible rope.

Dancing at a Greek wedding

The Greeks also have far from one wedding dance, and all of them can be performed at one celebration. Most often, this, of course, is sirtaki or zorbas, as well as zaibekiko and tsamiko. All of them are a bit similar to each other and are performed similarly: guests and newlyweds hold each other's hands or shoulders and dance in a circle. It is worth noting that, unlike tsamiko and zaibekiko, sirtaki is not a traditional dance, but was invented after the 1964 film Zorba the Greek, which had a very catchy soundtrack.

Halay dance in Turkey

Turkish halay is one of the most common and popular dances. It consists of repeating figures that are performed to repeated pieces of music. The whole point is that the music is gradually accelerating, and guests with the newlyweds must get into the rhythm and not go astray. The dance ends at maximum speed, and in the end everyone dances very cheerfully and actively, charging each other with energy and excellent mood.

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