Monday, November 12, 2012

It is so third world but I love it


I know the wedding season in Algeria is over or nearing a closure, but it is never late nor out of context to talk about weddings in Algeria.

In recent years, there has been a tendency to formalize Algerian weddings. This is most cases means having the celebration in a wedding hall, decorated tackily with Chinese plastic flowers and tinsel. For those who are real show offs, it is real flowers, but it is rare because there are never enough flowers in the shops to decorate one wedding hall let alone a few.  I remember as a kid, there used to be more florists selling real flowers, but their numbers have declined dramatically like everything beautiful in Algeria.

As I am an old-school at heart, I am all for wedding celebrations at home. I have recently watched a video of Mourad Djaafri playing at a wedding for men. The celebration took place in the open air, more precisely in the space between apartment blocks (the formal name of which I ignore). I am glad he did not feel that he needed a hall for his performance, for having men dance happily in the street at night, where no alcohol or blasting DJ music are needed, simply cheerful people sitting on plastic chairs is what a celebration should be about. It reminds me of a wedding about 20 years ago, before Algeria was plunged into years of darkness. Our neighbour held his wedding in the street; it was a quiet street where hardly any cars passed by, and everyone one was dancing and happy for him to be married, nothing formal, just happy people enjoying themselves.

 I am glad this tradition has not completely died out in favour of a wedding hall where people sit around tables, staring at each other, and the host is so bitter about spending a fortune to rent the hall that the food ends up being a few biscuits and you are meant to fast for a day just for the pleasure to be in a wedding hall.

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