We're back from Morocco.  Our trip and the wedding were so amazing I don't know how to boil it down to a few sentences.  It was a big deal.  A sit-down dinner for 200 people, an 8 or 9-piece band blaring music, belly dancing all night - professional and amateur, beautiful, colorful dresses, warm, loving family.  We don't have weddings anything like that here.  The closest thing I can think of would be a Mari Gras ball, with the bride and groom as king and queen.

The bride and groom arrived at the wedding about 9 pm and were greeted outside by lots of people, tambourines and drums, and singing and chanting and were ushered inside in this procession, and seated in a throne-like setting.   The bride started out in a white gown.  After awhile she left to change into a dark blue gown.  While they were gone, the party continued, people danced, so you didn't even miss them.  They re-entered in the new gown.  After awhile they disappeared again and she re-entered in a red gown.  Then a fuchsia gown.  Each of these gowns represented a different region of Morocco.  The most unusual  and ceremonial was the green and gold representing Fez.  The bride and groom were lifted up on chairs on platforms and carried around. At some point, tables of 8 were set up and we were served dinner by waiters who came out carrying silver trays of tagines held high which were then placed in the center of each table.  At another interval, waiters put on a tea ceremony.  Sweet mint tea is the national drink and it is ceremoniously poured from silver tea pots in long streams by raising the pot as high as they can reach.  After they circled around performing this, they served everybody tea in little Moroccan tea glasses that are something like a small juice glass to us.  Then the waiters came swirling around with trays of cookies.  They carry these silver trays high on their flat palms and it's very showy.  Then they lower it to serve each guest.  They had 9 different variety of cookies each on separate trays.  The bride appeared last in a second (different) white gown.  At another interval they had a professional belly dance show.  They danced all around the bridal couple and then just danced.  It all went on until dawn. 

The henna party the night before was in Nawal's parents' home, and a large gathering was there, mostly family.  One of the boys dj'ed the music and there was dancing there as well.  A very festive time.  We didn't expect it to be like this. Moroccans are either of Arab or Berber origin.  Nawal's family is Berber.   It could be that those of Arabic origin are more fundamental about the Islamic religion and less inclined to have their pictures taken, dancing, etc.  We danced and they belly-danced! 

It was the most amazing wedding I have ever been to.  It was other-worldly.  Every minute you were there you knew you were in a place far, far away!  It was truly an experience of a lifetime.  Americans rarely get inside a Moroccan wedding, and we were not only invited inside but treated very special and preferentially. I knew we were joining with a new family, but I was not prepared for the love that poured out.  They are very warm and loving people. 

After the wedding we spent a few days on the beach near Casablanca.  Still didn't get to Fez or back to Marrakech like I wanted to but that will have to be another trip.  Not being able to speak the language makes it difficult to get around by ourselves.

This was long but it was such a rare and unique experience, I wanted to share it with you and record my memories.  Pictures of the webbing are in the Album Family Photos section of the website.

 

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