True to the boisterous, welcoming, and community-oriented nature of Middle Eastern celebrations, Lebanese weddings have a penchant for being festively extravagant. Indeed, the many customs and traditions of a Lebanese wedding always emphasize jolliness, lavishness, activity, and a great many participants, which may catch many off-guard.
There are various reasons why Lebanese weddings are so extravagant. All of them, however, are rooted in the wider cultural values and traditions of Lebanon and the surrounding Middle East, particularly their emphasis on community, familial bonds, generosity, charity, and honor.
With all that in mind, it’s no wonder why Lebanese weddings and their traditions can be bombastic and large. There’s the henna party, a wedding march (the zaffe), dowry, dancing, and even cutting the cake with a sword! However, if you’re to look closely at the roots of these customs, then this extravagance is easily explained.
Interesting Reasons Why Lebanese Weddings Are So Extravagant
Middle Eastern cultures in general have a deep respect for collective bonds and networks, and Lebanon is no exception. Hence, when there is a celebration, such as a wedding, much is done to accommodate or impress one’s community.
As with all Middle Eastern countries, honor and reputation are immensely vital to the cultural lifeblood of Lebanon. The honor and reputation of an individual (like say, the bride and the groom) are crucial and are often tied to the honor and reputation of their family.
Thus, both the bride and the groom, as well as their families, will spare no expense in celebrating a wedding, as having a grand wedding is considered very honorable and improves the esteem of the bride, the groom, and their families.
Generosity and Charity
The people of Lebanon have an outstanding veneration for hospitality. For them, it is a great honor to invite, host, and tend to guests at one’s home or celebration. This no doubt extends to weddings, where those hosting the wedding are expected to be at their most hospitable and welcoming.
Sanctity of Marriage
Lebanese culture places utmost significance on marriage because owing to historical and religious reasons, marriage is seen as more than just the union of the bride and the groom, but the union of the bride and the groom’s family and community. Hence, the practice of giving a dowry to the bride.
With that said, because marriage is not treated lightly, so too is the wedding not celebrated lightly. Thus, Lebanese weddings express this significance through their joyous and extravagant nature.
With the familial importance of marriage given, weddings are also an opportunity for Lebanese families to get to know each other and cultivate connections. Thus, there is a lot of pressure on the bride and groom’s families to impress one another and open up many opportunities to mingle via many celebratory practices.
Cultural Traditions and Rituals
Culturally practiced wedding traditions and rituals, such as the zaffe and the henna party, also explain the extravagance and lavishness of a Lebanese wedding. As these are seen as time-honored practices, the bride, the groom, and their families are compelled to celebrate them thoroughly and often lavishly.
With all that given, those who have an eye for budget and affordability shouldn’t mistake the extravagance of Lebanese weddings for wastefulness and vanity.
In truth, if you’re to look closely at its reasons, you’ll quickly find that this extravagance is an expression of Lebanese values, which strive to foster bonds between the bride and groom’s families and their respective communities.