Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sword Dancing and a Bit about Wedding and Marriage Customs

Sword Dancing is a unique and interesting aspect of Saudi culture and is only performed by men. I thought this article with its brief video clip gave a good overview of the practice and place in Saudi society. I've been told that these sword dances are performed at weddings. Which brings me to another interesting aspect of Saudi culture--not necessarily unique to Saudis as other countries in the Middle East follow the same custom.

The wedding reception is held for men and women separately. The men have their party with the bridegroom and the women have their party with the bride. At some point, the bridegroom comes and takes his bride away and the parties end.

Many Saudi marriages are semi-arranged, with the parents vetting and choosing a selection of potential mates for their children. Family alliances and tribal connections are carefully considered. The bride or groom do have a say in whom they wish to marry and can veto selections from their parents. When a couple is married, the woman still maintains absolute control over any assets and money she brings to the marriage. Divorce is allowed--though I believe it is easier for a man to obtain a divorce than for a woman. If a woman divorces, she returns to her family. She still has the possibility of marrying again without stigma.

Please check out the article and video clip. It is a brief interesting read about a fascinating cultural practice.

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