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|Tent Wedding: Cheaper, Easier, and Practical|
Abdul Rahim Al-Shawthabi ( YEMEN POST STAFF)
Article Date: July 21, 2008
Wedding ceremonies in Yemen are not much different from those of other Arab countries; however, they are much different from weddings just years ago.
Simple and economical weddings ceremonies have replaced the quite expensive and inflated ceremonies of the past as some people now use tents instead of renting luxurious halls that cost them too much.
Weddings have also started to take place in tents instead of halls. Nevertheless, making wedding ceremonies cheaper.
Tents are rented for a decent price and providing furniture by the tent owner could cost more money. Renting a tent could cost between YR 20,000 to 30,000 in case the owner is to bring only the tent, while the neighbors of the groom help in bringing furniture from their own houses.
Renting tents has become common and it could help poor people and those who canít afford the high wedding costs. While guests, neighbors, and attendees are seated around the tent on pillows chewing qat, the groom is seated on an elaborately decorated throne up front.
Most people rent tents because rent fees are comparatively lower than halls and they can also use them for a couple of days or even one week; while halls are rented for one day or two days maximum and for big sums of money. "In my son's wedding, I rented a very big tent with its furniture for only YR 100, 000 per week" said a 43 year old Ahmed Ali Yahya.
In an effort to make weddings cost even less, some invite just close relatives and friends. "I did not expand my sonís wedding ceremony and I only invited my family and close friends to attend," said 54-year-old Yemeni immigrant in Qatar Ali Qasim A-Hajaji who got his son married earlier this month.
In some traditional weddings, the groom's neighbors and relatives are responsible for preparing some foods, bread and Bint Assahn (a sweet Yemeni dish). This is part of a strong social tradition called Al-Ghurm where the groom's relatives and neighbors should bring and prepare everything for the wedding including money sometimes.
"You know what to prepare through the groom's relatives who decides on the tasks of everyone. The tribe's chief is one who notifies neighbors and relatives what kind of food they should prepare," stated 36-year-old and Jubair tribe's cheif Ubad Ahmed Saleh in Radaía.
In return, major meals, likes meat and other side dishes are prepared by the groomís family.
Prior to using tents, locals who could not afford to rent halls used to send guests to neighbors' houses for meals. However, everything changed now as a person would only call a tent owner to come and set up his fully-furnished tent in the middle of a street next to his home.
During Al-Zafah, (a traditional dance with music) the singer sings religious chants as the groom, carrying a sword, walks slowly from the tent or the start of the street, till he reaches his house's doorsteps.
Sometimes hundreds of guests are invited and an afternoon qat gathering that is a common procedure among men after the lunch meal. "Several rooms, sometimes even in separate houses, are prepared for qat sessions," noted a 30 year old Sa'ad Naji Al-Waqedi.With the use of tents, parents and grooms' problems are nearly solved. "We work very closely with our customers to try to meet their weddings' requirements, and for reasonable prices" said 31-years-old and tent owner Hassan Abdullah.