From the Orus to the night of the Henna, customs and traditions of marriages in the Persian Gulf
Dalla Orus alla notte dell’ Henna, usanze e tradizioni dei matrimoni nel Golfo Persico
lug 25, 2019 Home 8 Comments

Along the corridors covered with red, the graceful decorated feet that sprout from the long black mantles, the abayas, move fast. The light veils on the head disclose fawn-like eyes painted artfully by the wise masters of the charm of mystery. They head to the sealed room, a source of curiosity for every passer-by, but in which only a select few can enter. Only women are allowed, the must isno men, not even among the waiters and the attendants.

Outside the moon is already high and sparkle on the bay of the Gulf of Qatar.

Doha stands out with beautiful a purple sky with its towers, the city's museum of the sea, and the spiral shape of the tower of Al Fanar. Outside the moon is already high and sparkle on the bay of the Gulf of Qatar.

After hours and days of preparations finally one of the most awaited day of the bride is arrived,

the all-female party prior to the wedding day: the Orus

We asked to one of our dear friend from the Persian Gulf t to describe how these days of anxious waiting are going on and all the traditions and customs that brides love to follow. Recently, she tells us, she was a guest at one of the long celebrations that her cousin organized in anticipation of her marriage.

What Westerners might seem truly characteristic, she says, would be these hundreds of fast and graceful decorated feet sprouting from the long black coats, the abayas, and light veils on the head that open deep eyes and artfully painted by the wise teachers of charm of the mystery.
It would be really fascinating for those who have never witnessed such a party, to see how they all go to the sealed room, a source of curiosity for every passer-by, but in which only a select few can enter. 
Only women are allowed, and no men, not even among the waiters and the attendants.

This is their evening, they are the Qatar girls who hurry to reach the Orus, the rehearsal party for only women.
When the last of them enters, the door is closed, and no one will ever be able to be delighted by the 
spectacle of their colorful clothes, the long silky hair that slides over their backs and the meticulous makeup of a taste far away from us but furrowed from large charm.

our eyes, we are told, could never have seen so many colors and many decorations, we would certainly be literally bewitched in front of this show.

During this party none of them wear a hijab or abaya as there is no male presence and it is one of the few occasions when dozens of Qatari girls wear a different outfit than abaya.

The bride traditionally is seated on a throne, so much adorned that it is almost difficult to move. Lying like a queen, in an elaborate satin and tulle dress, she looks pleased with the other women who dance in the vortex of pressing rhythms. Dozens, hundreds of girls, the invitation is extended not only to friends and relatives but also to acquaintances who bring other friends from all over the country and also from abroad.

At the same time the men of the two families of the spouses are meeting in another part of the city, where they perform in a tent a different ritual of marriage: tea, shisha, Bedouin dances with the saber, tribal songs.


The wedding celebrations in this part of the world see the female and male spheres separated, and only at the end of the party will the groom, together with a relative of the bride, visit her to return home together.

Marriage is a central social moment in the life of an Arab family, and not for the two spouses in particular but for every member of the family.

In the Middle Eastern world the ritual and the celebrations are very different if you compare the North African traditions with the Bedouin Gulf ones.


Among the fairly widespread traditions from the Sahara to the Persian Gulf there is also the night of the henna (henna): a ritual that takes place a few days before the wedding and involves all women in the family.

The bride, together with her mother, sisters and cousins, invite the women of her future husband's family to spend the evening together.

In Qatar the bride wears a green dress with golden embroidery, which recalls the henna nuances.
This color has a particular meaning: in the Koran green is the color worn by virgins in Paradise, moreover it represents abundance, luck for a new beginning, the bride dresses in green to show the beginning of her new life as a married woman and wishes abundance and happiness. She sits on a small stage created for the occasion, a backdrop is the background, because it is her ceremony and from the first to the last moment she will be the star of the party. She sits like a half- lying princess on a sofa covered with tulle and veils, on which drapes hang from the ceiling. The friends and relatives sit around her, it is a special moment, they have the opportunity to talk, get to know each other better, take the path that will lead to the union of the two families.

The henna ritual in the Middle Eastern countries consists in the decoration of hands and feet with floral motifs, it is an art that Arab women have wisely learned and handed down from mother to daughter, it is a real tradition that is often used by Arab women especially on large occasions. The henna ritual takes place a few days before the wedding to make sure that on that day the coloring has dried and has become dark brown and the drawings are clearly visible and defined. This is also a festival for women only: but in particular the women themselves were the true architects of the marriage, those who proposed the union of the two future spouses, and who thought of every detail.


The marriage was expertly organized by the groom's mother and sisters.

He, generally after completing his studies and establishing a satisfactory economic situation, expressed the desire to create a family, and from this moment on the mechanism for organizing the wedding is triggered. He describes the characteristics of the person he would like by his side.

Sometimes he already has clear ideas in mind, other times after a painstaking, all the women of his family try to show him different girls in a picture. If he is convinced, he will decide to take the big step by going to present himself with his father or his brother with the men of the girl's family.


There is a real ritual for this moment. The suitor sits at the reception hall of the girl's family and meets the father, the brothers, and in some cases also other close relatives, uncles, cousins. The oldest member of the family, the one to whom the faculty of decision is attributed, offers him the typical cardamom coffee.

The suitor refuses the drink, and this gesture has a clear meaning: he presented himself for a specific reason, and he will not drink before an agreement is obtained with the father of the woman.
He is invited to present the question and the will to marry one of the girls of the family is presented.

All those present try to get to know him better to investigate his personality and to be sure that he is a person with good values, with certain characteristics and that he comes from a good family.

The girl from a distance can see her suitor, she can also approach to pour the coffee for the sole purpose of making sure to see herself more closely, and if she is interested, the mother expresses a positive signal.

Finally they will know each other in the house of the future bride, but always in the presence of the family and never alone. In the second meeting it will be decided whether the decision to get married is final! Soon, from a week to a month, there will be wedding celebrations.


Before the wedding it is a tradition to give the bride a set of suitcases to bring all the new equipment considered part of the dowry into her new home.
the groom also offers a beautiful trunk with a precious space in the upper part where the bride will keep her wedding bouquet.

Queen of Saba creates beautiful trunks for our dear brides and patarine, including in their design that beautiful space that will serve to preserve one of their most precious memories of their wedding day.


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