You may have the preconceived notion that all Israeli weddings are Jewish weddings, but the reality is that Israeli weddings are just as diverse as the Israeli population is today.
Israeli weddings are filled with immigrants from North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and North America, as well as Arab-Israeli and Druze people, to name just a few examples. And even though Jewish marriages make up the vast majority of ceremonies in Israel, there are also wedding ceremonies attended by Muslims and Christians.
Some of the first questions that are asked during the planning phase often relate to Israel’s cultural past and Israeli traditions. This is because Israel is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, and therefore this is one of the reasons why this is the case. It’s pretty typical to have a really varied assortment of things in your home.
As a result of this, Israeli weddings frequently incorporate the traditions of other countries, such as the custom of throwing sacks full of rose petals at the brides, which is a Persian tradition; the Georgian ritual of opening the gifts and reciting the dollar amounts aloud, which is an Israeli wedding tradition. You may also anticipate that many of these customs will be incorporated into the ceremony if it is a Jewish wedding.
Israeli Weddings Customs and Traditions:-
There may be as many as a week’s worths of events, beginning far before the wedding day. It’s customary for a Mizrahi (a person from North Africa or the Middle East who follows Sephardic traditions) couple to have a Henna ceremony and celebration a few days or a week before their wedding event. The bride, groom, and members of both families (as well as some guests) wear traditional clothing, give gifts (typically beautifully wrapped fruits and sweets), feast on regional dishes, and dance to traditional Mizrahi music at the Henna. At the end of the night, the bride and groom receive a red henna painting as a blessing for a successful marriage and protection from the evil eye.
The Israeli-Arab community has a tradition of throwing a week-long party and sending out handwritten invites to each guest. The groom may read from the Torah in the synagogue on the Shabbat before the wedding and then be showered with candy and other treats; a tradition is known as Shabbat Chatan if the bride and/or groom are Ashkenazi. After the prayers, there will be a reception party in the form of a Kiddush to celebrate the happy couple. This is a custom of the Mizrahim that takes place on the first Shabbat following the wedding.
These days are very similar to the cocktail hours that are traditionally held at Western weddings; however, there is always a big array of appetizers consisting of Israeli salads, meats, and seafood. Even though you could very easily stuff yourself with this cuisine, there will also be an enormous supper following the wedding itself. Additionally, there will be an abundant supply of alcoholic beverages, such as wine, beer, and liquor.
This is the commencement of the ceremonial ceremony, and it begins with the bridegroom being danced into the room where the bride is waiting for his friends and family. If the couple is Ashkenazi, this is the beginning of the wedding. She maintains a seated position, and her mother, as well as her mother-in-law, are typically positioned next to her. Bedeken is a Yiddish word that means “veiling ceremony,” As the groom reaches the bride during this ceremony, he lifts her veil over her face and prays over her while he does so. Sometimes other people in the bride’s life, in addition to the bride’s father, will also give her a blessing at the wedding. In Mizrahi and Sephardic marriages, there is no customary head covering called a bedeken, and the bride enters the ceremony already covered.
Dancing and Music
After the ceremony and before dinner, there is often a time for music and dance that reflects the background of the couple. Horah (Ashkenazi Jewish circle dance) and other traditional Israeli music and dances, Moroccan music linked with a Henna ceremony, or traditional Kurdish dancing. It is not uncommon to hear Moroccan music at an Ashkenazi wedding, for example, because even if the couple is not tied to a culture, Israelis love to borrow. Alcohol is often served, and a DJ plays loud electronic dance music as the evening progresses. There are plenty of receptions that continue well into the night (or early morning, even).
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Frequently asked questions
What are Israeli weddings like?
The bride traditionally circles the groom seven times, but some less religious couples split the circle and have each person walk around the other or walk in a circle together. The first of the seven blessings is recited over a cup of wine that the couple will then drink.
How long are Israeli weddings?
The duration of the Orthodox Jewish rituals varies between 35 and 45 minutes, and guests are normally seated according to gender. Men and women may even participate individually in major religious ceremonies before coming together to celebrate the wedding.
How should I dress for Israeli weddings?
Israel is a relaxed country, and its fashion reflects that. This means that even at a wedding, young men in jeans (with a button-down shirt, no tie, or even a T-shirt) and women in short, tight cocktail dresses rather than elegant gowns are not commonplace.