The Yemeni Folk Heritage Marriage and Delivery Traditions in Yemen [Archives:2001/29/Culture]

July 16 2001

Saleh Abdulbaki 
Yemen Times 
The social heritage presented by the Yemeni folk traditions and customs has formed the central and civilized prop of the Yemeni people. Each part of Yemen has its own distinguished folk rituals and traditions which is more or less similar in its casual way of performing such rituals. One of these rituals is marriage and delivery rituals in Sana’a. These rituals differ from city to another in Yemen according to inhabitants’ traditions and attitudes. In Aden, for instance, marriage traditions different from those in the past The eldest girl has her own right to choose the suitable husband and also she has the right to acceptance or refusal of suitors. But in the tribal communities, marriage ritual is still existent till today with its fixed traditions. When the suitors of the family engage marriage for their son, they have to pay the dowry for the girl, either an amount of money, camels or livestock. In rural areas, the woman who gets married has to be treated with respect and kindness, but if the husband maltreats her, she must go back to her parents’ house and it is impossible for the girl to go back to her husband’s house. In this regard, the husband has to give her a present of satisfaction “Al-Radhwa” But in Sana’a it is different. First of all the, the bridegrooms’ family have to arrange marriage for their son. They start fixing the date. The bridegroom has to pay half of the dowry in advance and the postponed amount of money has to be paid later, that’s to say, after marriage. In this case the husband has to provide the conjugal home with essential supplies. It is casual for the husband to be in readiness to receive his guests and to invite all his friends and relatives. On the first day the bride’s family invite women of the husbands’ relatives. This day is called “Yawm Al-Hamam” in which the bride has to go to have a shower with the woman whom she had invited. On the following day, the bride has to color herself and this known as “Yawm Ak-Naksh” in which the bride has to tint her hair and color her hands and legs. The bridegroom’s female relative have to be invited to the wedding ceremony in the bride’s house. On the third day, a lot of guests have to be invited also to the bridegroom’s house and this day is called the wedding night “Al-Dokhla”. In this case the husband has to come to the bride’s house. On the following day a lot of people are invited to the wedding ceremony to have lunch and on the same day the bridegroom has to go to his mother-in-law in order to call on her. On the seventh day the bridegroom invites his bride’s relatives to have lunch and take part in the ceremony. It is customary for the bride not to go out at all. She is allowed to visit her relatives after twenty days or after forty days and this day is called the”Yawm Al-Shokma”Concerning the traditions of the delivery in Sana’a, the well-known historian, Al-Wasaee, said, If the woman delivers a boy baby or a girl and therefore, the woman’s husband is extremely poor, he has to make a large room available for the guests and the walls have to be beautifully decorated. On the seventh day women have to be invited to the house. On the fourteenth day the woman has to have” Fattah” , a famous Yemeni recipe mixed with pastries, local ghee and honey. In the evening the wife has to eat chicken. In this regard the husband has to bear the whole expenses.