Tying the Knot: Somali wedding adheres to tradition

LEWISTON — When Abdimalik Maalim and Fartun Bare got married, no wedding invitations were sent out. Yet the reception at the Longley Elementary School gym July 9 was teeming with men and women. The women were dressed to impress in colorful skirts and head scarves. Girls took selfies. Two DJs played lively Somali music.

“Our weddings are open to everyone,” Maalim said. “We rent a huge place so everyone in town can come.”

The bride and groom arrived in a black stretch limousine, looking like royalty. He donned a white, embroidered robe. She wore a long gown and a headdress.

Her wedding party wore matching gowns with gold accents and headdresses.

As in all cultures, a wedding in the Somali community is a big event. What’s different is the time invested getting family approval before the wedding. And after that, the groom has to pass one more test: to prove himself to the bride’s family financially.

Maalim, 24, had to work hard to marry Bare, 21.

A traditional Somali wedding has two parts, nikah, the ceremony, and aroos, the party afterward. Somali weddings celebrate the two extended families, as well as the bride and groom.

Read More: Sun Journal

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