Saudi tribe denies ban on women’s wedding parties

June 2, 2013

A Saudi tribe has denied reports that it had barred its women from attending marriage ceremonies, saying that they were “baseless and untrue”

“We reject the allegations that our tribe has adopted a measure not to have wedding parties for women and to confine the celebrations to men,” Iqab Bin Mohammad Bin Shalah Al Mutairi, a senior member of the Shalaliha tribe, has said. “Women constitute half of our society and there can be no joy or celebrations without them being involved and taking part in them,” he said, quoted by Saudi news site Sabq on Sunday.

A report published on Friday claimed that the tribe had decided to hold wedding parties only for men and that the traditional celebrations for women would be cancelled. The measure would apply to all members of the tribe, even if they take spouses from other tribes, the report published in the Saudi daily Al Youm said.

The tribe attributed the decision to a collective wish to limit expenses, mainly those related to buying fancy dresses and holding lavish parties.

According to the report, the older members of the tribe welcomed the decision, contrary to the younger ones who opposed it. Online comments were highly critical of the ban on women’s celebrations, saying that it was unfair and ran against family spirit and age-old traditions. “How can we talk about celebrations and joy when not all the family is involved? This is totally unfair,” Adel, a blogger, wrote. Abu Fawaz said that the decision was “extremely biased against women”. “It is telling them to stay at home, to mute their joy and not to celebrate with the rest of the family,” he posted on Al Youm website. Al Mazini said that weddings were not a daily occurrence and that they deserved to be celebrated. “If there is no joy at wedding parties, where will we find it? I only call for moderation to ensure there is no overspending or waste of financial resources,” he wrote.

Sarrah branded the decision as a move targeting women. “They are talking about expenses, but what about the men? They too indulge in spending money for the celebrations, so they too should be told there should be no ceremonies,” she posted. However, Mohammad Al Mutairi said that he was pleased with the ban. “This is the best decision I have heard in a long time,” he posted. “When you calculate how much you have to spend for each wedding, then you appreciate the significance of avoiding public parties. From fancy dressed to elaborate hairstyles, it is all about money. You realise that if there are two or three weddings, your monthly salary is gone.”

For Abu Abdul Aziz, the decision would help families cut on unnecessary expenses. “Women tend to buy fancy dresses that they wear only once, even if it is so expensive,” he posted. “That means wedding celebrations cost a real fortune. Doing away with them is a great solution.”



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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