Tripolitanian Wedding | العرس الطرابلسي

Layal Abdulaal


A traditional Tripoli wedding is a captivatingly exhuasting affair that can last a whole week where each night is dedicated to a certain celebration and purpose. Nowadays, some traditions have died down and the celebrations have become simpler due to financial purposes or simply because old traditions are brushed off in today’s day. A huge difference between then and now is that everything including the actual wedding day where the bride wears the white dress are all held in homes, backyards, tents, etc; rather than how it is now where pretty much every celebration is celebrated in a hall. This is a very brief description of my own experiences of attending Trablsy weddings, so a lot of old original traditions aren’t going to be mentioned because they have died down; including certain days that were celebrated during the wedding week.


Preparations l “حوش العرس”

The household is literally open a few weeks prior to the actual wedding day itself. Huge portions of sweets are made by family and neighbours, along with any food that will be served during the wedding celebrations. Family is in and out, sleepovers here and there, and just genuine happiness every second of the day of everyday. And of course, singing and dancing along with the usual “darbooka” darbaking all happen in between.


Henna Elsgheera | حنه الصغيره

On this day, in contrast to the other women, the bride does not wear makeup. She has a Turkish style bath and is later dressed in the pink striped attire, “Badla Bodreya” which is folded up into cushiony forms with a matching bandana-like material that covers her hair. Zukra, a four-piece live band of male musicians, bring the whole celebration to life. During that night, the bride gets henna-ed up. The henna is thickly applied in a paste over her hands and feet. The rest of the night is spent singing and darbaking.


Nejma Night | ليلة النجمه

The literal meaning of this is “star night” which is when the bride essentially goes out into the street with a mirror held in front of her to “catch the star”. This event is held in a beautifully decorated tent. She is covered in a beautiful white traditional attire from head to toe, "7oly El-7seera" or nowadays more known as "Badla El-Kbeera" throughout the entire night. A child walks in front of her holding a tray with candles for light, eggs for fertility, and a knife to keep away the evil eye. She is then seated where her hair gets braided and a tray of fire called “El-Zeit Eliblib" is on top of her head where a little more henna is added on her hand. Back then, the bride gets fully henna-ed up on this night instead of the Henna night as previously mentioned. And of course, zimzamat are obviously the reason the night is lit; a 3-5 piece live band of female musicians that genuinely complete the whole night. On the groom’s side, they also have their own celebration going on. They all go around the block with fire, similar to the "Zeit Elbilbil" but the correct term is "El-Gindeel". It's carried by the groom, alongside all his friends, family, and the Zukra playing throughout the night.


El-Dkhool | الدخول

The fat7a is usually read anytime during the week, but it can be read the day before. More so, this night is just like any other wedding night where the bride wears her white wedding gown and goes home with her husband. Close family members escort the bride to her new family. She is accepted by the groom’s family at his house where they themselves have their own party going on.


El-Ma7der | المحضر

The last day is after the wedding day which is called “El Ma7der”. This day is the groom’s side of the family’s celebration; the day they get to show off their new bride to their family and friends. The bride wears two traditional outfits. The first one is all white and drenched in gold. This is called “El-Badla 3rbeya”. Then she wears an all red outfit, “El-Jelwa”, also drenched in gold with exquisite beading all over; where she spins seven times for preventing any evil eye purposes. Again, undeniably lit night thanks to Zimzamat.

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