Dubai Consumer Mirror

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Palestinian Jaaha

I just flew back from Kuwait a few hours ago.

I was supposed to catch the late flight on Thursday. My brother's best friend asked me if i can make it to his engagement ceremony that took place this weekend.

As mentioned in the previous post below, I was on a quick 48hrs customer mission to Kuwait. I didn't pack much cloths, let alone something formal to wear for an engagement party.

It turned out that my dad, brother and I were actually asked to be part of this friend's Jaaha.

For those of you who don't know, being invited to be part of a Jaaha is a real honor. I couldn't say No. I changed my booking reservation, bought a suit, tie, shirt, belt and new pair of shoes.. thats of course after getting my wife's permission whom I left in Dubai for the weekend. :)

Jaaha, Arabic for entourage, is when the male senior members of the groom's family pay the bride-to-be family A VISIT at their house and propose to the bride's father.

On the the brides side of the family, an equally large male welcoming party is usually on the other side of the hall.

It is mainly a Palestinian/Jordanian tradition. Some Syrian/Lebanese families still follow this tradition, but you'd only see it in rural areas or in families that are still holding on to this tradition.

This is how it all goes down.

The two main heads of the families do all the talking. The groom-to-be keeps his mouth shut and lets the big boys do all the talking.

In traditional, and i mean really really traditional families, negotiations on the arrangements and worthiness of the groom to ask for the girls hand in marriage can get really intense.

You see, the intensity of the negotiations reflects how dear and precious the bride is to her family. Its like saying, "we ain't letting our girl go that easy, you have prove that you deserve her."

That's why its imperative for the groom's family Jaaha to gather as much men as possible in terms of numbers, and as presentable and reputable, in terms of rank and social status. They will back the groom's father and demonstrate to the bride's family that they are worthy of their daughter.

Now back to last night's Jaaha.

My dad, brother and I were part of about a 40 man-Jaaha. So I wasn't worried about the number aspect. And as for the 'quality and rank bit', I think my dad, brother and I were the only ones that weren't doctors.

It happened to be that my brother's best friend is a doctor, his elder brother is a doctor, his sister is a doctor, his mom is a doctor and I think every uncle, cousin and niece is 'or planning to be' a doctor.

Bottom line, the guy was all pimped out and his posse was ready to roll.

I've never attended a REAL Palestinian Jaaha before and I was really looking forward for this one. And from the looks of it, its clearly seemed that I was with the stronger team.. go figure

So, we walked in on the hall. It took about 15to 20 minutes for about a 100 people to shake hands with everybody else, find places to sit and make sure that everyone is sitting in the right place.

My hopes for intense heated negotiations, people boasting their wealth, knowledge and social status died away quickly when the father of the bride said following the groom's dad 2 minute speech, "I accept, lets read Al Fatehaa"

"That's it?" I whispered to my brother who leaned back and said: "they agreed on everything last week. This is just for the relatives"

I guess that's how Jaaha's go down these days.

Oh well, at least I got to eat Knafeh Nabulsieh.

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  • My jaaha was like that,with no doctors.

    By Anonymous hamede, at February 4, 2007 at 5:03 AM  

  • M,

    You might want to change this bit before people start Palestinians sell their women:

    Jaaha, Arabic for entourage, is when the male senior members of the groom's family PAY THE bride-to-be family at their house and propose to the bride's father.

    I am sure you meant 'pay them a visit' :)

    Anyway - I love traditions! They are beautiful.. My 2 yr old son already sings traditional palestian songs and chooses them over itsy bitsy spider anyday :)

    I had no Jaha myself, since I had had - errrrm - less than a traditional 'wedding', but I still love em!

    Have a nice day! when are we going to have that DIC 'blogger' lunch?

    By Anonymous Dalia, at February 4, 2007 at 9:21 AM  

  • sorry - I meant:

    before people start ACCUSING Palestinians OF sellING their women

    By Anonymous dalia, at February 4, 2007 at 9:23 AM  

  • OMG, 100 people? Gosh..

    No wonder why more girls are being left unmarried. In Aleppo we'd have a smaller amount of people, 20 max from both sides, and just mingling and getting to know each other, but that happens after the bride's father says "Yes, I do" lol.. we called "Tashakur" in English "A Thank you visit" obviously to say thank you for giving their daughter to 'our' son.. it's kind of fun you know...

    And was the whole suit-tie-shirt-shoes package any expensive?


    By Blogger Restless in Dubai, at February 4, 2007 at 9:23 AM  

  • Dalia - thanks for pointing that out. You are right.. fixed ;)

    RnD - you don't wanna know wallah.

    By Blogger moryarti, at February 4, 2007 at 11:09 AM  

  • ah,! I wouldn't mind going to a Jaaha.. never been b4.. but it's exactly that.. all about gathering of troops,, boosting the numbers, and making a show..

    the best analogy to me, is the groom and his family showing up like a peacock with all the colours and feathers (i.e. the male entourage) hehe

    PS: I have to say I'm really liking the posts :)

    By Blogger BuJ, at February 4, 2007 at 2:10 PM  

  • very interesting post Mori! we still have this tradition in Lebanon, especially in Beirut, we call it 6libeh or 6libet el rjeil (mainly because it's a men only event)

    Recently the tlibeh has become more of a mixed event. Why women should not participate in such events! Their assesment of the "other family" is usually more "juicy"... But as you said, it's now more of formalities, they agree upon everything in advance.

    By Blogger achinar, at February 4, 2007 at 3:15 PM  

  • What an honour - hopefully it will still justify the spending of the money in Mrs M's eyes, seeing as it was all sorted out earlier!

    Still - as long as you look hot in your new clothes, I guess she won't mind! LOL.

    By Blogger nzm, at February 4, 2007 at 4:11 PM  

  • Very interesting. I didn't know what was a 'Jaaha'...well now I do :)

    By Anonymous md, at February 4, 2007 at 6:10 PM  

  • Cool! I've heard of Jaaha's, but didn't know the details of what happened in it....

    Thanks for explaining :)

    By Blogger Dubai Sunshine, at February 4, 2007 at 10:55 PM  

  • We still have the same tradition in Istanbul. Mostly it is done as a formality, to keep the tradition going. I think it is a good thing that we do not forget, where we are coming from. Also, showing respect to eachother. Nice post. Greetings from Istanbul.

    By Blogger Oya, at February 5, 2007 at 12:25 AM  

  • Of course it had to end in food Mr M!!!

    By Blogger CG, at February 7, 2007 at 1:47 PM  

  • Who on earth has space for 100 in their living room?

    By Blogger i*maginate, at February 28, 2007 at 11:18 PM  

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