Weddings in Afrin
The Past & the Present
Each nation has its own historical heritage resulting from old habits, customs and beliefs as well as the stories of biographies and heroics which form what is called today "folklore".
This heritage has been inherited by the successive generations in phenomena whose suggestion expresses the characteristics of human being throughout history.
On the other hand, there is no nation which can be separated from its folklore, culture, habits….etc, which have been considered symbols of its identity for ages though they have often been covered up by legends.
Some of this folk heritage in Afrin is the old weddings.
The multi-scented weddings worked in harmony with the natural country life and the strong social bond in order to tell about people's hopes and ambitions and express their truthful feelings to the bride and the bridegroom.
What a beautiful wish to everyone who has a warm heart that is full of love, faithfulness and family unit!
The wedding begins by inviting the families of the neighbouring villages as guests of the wedding at the expense of a family from the groom's village. The guests were being received with a warm reception, not a cool one (as it is today)!
Then, the guests come successively to the guest houses at certain times accompanied by persons with special skills and headed by their leaders while the hosts receive them cheerfully into their well-furnished houses.
After that, the people gather together everyday at the wide square of the village to celebrate the wedding for no less than three days. They garland the square of songs, dances and skills with a halo of congratulatory beams while the oboists and the drummers charm the dance floor by their beautiful rhythms.
The alignment of the young men, the old men, the old women and the young women whose beautiful dresses indicate their chaste femininity make the artists charm not only people's bodies but also their hearts!
The tunes of oboes and drums which continue night and day and the diffusion of joy and delight everywhere in the village regenerate the hope of marriage in the psyches of youth.
Those happy days may last at least for a week, but happiness reaches its zenith in the last night of the wedding through wonderful folk patterns.
The henna parties of both the bride and the bridegroom are held at the last night of the wedding, each one in a different house. The women gather around the bride who sits on a cushion and is dressed in her nicest dress while the women are decorating her hands and feet with henna and singing her the songs that express the wishes for a happy life and happy motherhood such as this song: " Henè hena zèrin…Henè di teshtèkin…Avè bi kèfchi lèkin…Momè di ortèkin…Li dest lingè vè bùkèkin…".
On the other hand, the young men gather around the bridegroom who sits on a cushion while the young men are singing the most beautiful inherited songs such as this song: "De zave zave zave…Mal shèn ù malik ave... Hîn leylan li malè bava…". [Tip: the letter (e) at the end of these words is pronounced as we pronounce the letter (e) in the word "the" and the letter (a) is pronounced as we pronounce the letter (a) in the word "are"]. From the beginning of the last morning of the wedding, the dancers begin to show their wonderful artistic skills until the midday, then these creative skills are followed by colours of folk patterns which express bravery, enthusiasm and chivalry.
While the dancers are charming the dance floor by their skills, the bride parade is being prepared. The bride rides a horse with a decorated saddle and behind her rides a handsome boy as a good omen for blessed children. She is accompanied by the village women who take leave of her by the farewell songs while the horsemen are showing their skills as protectors of the bride.
With the arrival of the pride parade at the yard of the groom's house, the people start to receive the bride with roses and basil while the bridegroom, who waits for her on the roof of the house, scatters pieces of sweet and money over her head as a good omen for a happy family.
After her settling in her blessed abode, the people return to the wedding square to see the different folk programmes of the celebration such as making a great fire in the middle of the wedding square where a wrestling champion moves around it and challenges one of the strongest wrestlers in the area to force his nose into the fire. You cannot imagine what consequences and championships you may find with the cheers and boos of the audience!
Furthermore, there are the funny plays of the clowns which may express enthusiasm, manhood or defending dignity, honour and money. Next, the horsemen compete in front of the cheerful audience in a game called "qocheh haspa". Then, the programmes are concluded by the marksmanship competitions by using old guns. Also, we should not forget the frolics of boys when they block the bride's way near the groom's house by placing a young goat in front of her, so she should choose between carrying the young goat or paying its price; she accepts to pay its price while the boys leave the place cheerfully after receiving their gift from the bride.
The farewell party is held to take leave of the wedding's guests in the hope that they will meet in other weddings.
The bridegroom is congratulated by his friends then he leaves for the nest of happiness….
Those are but some celebratory forms of the past weddings in Afrin only a few decades ago!!!
Today, those moral values and beautiful habits have disappeared and turned upside down. The brightness of weddings has faded away and their roots have been replaced with foreign ornaments by indifferent hands with the aim of erasing the features of the noble folklore that has been inherited by the successive generations throughout history.
The emergent alternative customs such as the enclosed dance halls, the shameful undressing and the disgraceful mix of women and men, which have rebelled against the virtuous customs, have turned to time bombs against virtue and chastity. Not forgetting the rumble of the electronic musical instruments and the noisy songs which deafen their listeners with a shower of offensive words…!
So, please let me know about the saviours who will regain the brightness of our weddings from our beautiful folklore!!!
Written by Edited by
Nihad Nabbou Ibraheem Khaleel Eesa