Islamic weddings can stretch over a number of days. Depending on the ethnicity of the families, the bride and groom's special night won't happen until two or three days after the initial ceremony. The families have several parties before and after the exchanging of nuptials to get to know each other better and to celebrate their new family unit. In this culture the cost of a gift doesn't suggest that the giver didn't put any thought into it.
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Arabic calligraphy is a powerful handcrafted gift. Some family members of friends will give a bride and groom a personalised canvas with the groom's last name handwritten in artistic calligraphy. It is common for the gift giver to choose their favourite passage from the Koran to print on the canvas. It can be mounted as a wall painting or stitched over throw pillows or other household decor
Gifts for the Bride
The Mahr is a gift the husband begins to collect long before he even meets his wife. It is a financial gift that he gives his new bride. Cultures in parts of Africa and Europe used to call this a dowry and many no longer practice this custom. However, Muslim cultures still practice it. The husband uses the Mahr as a method of negotiation to get the bride to marry him. Most often, these negotiations are held with the potential bride's parents who arrange the marriage. Once they are married, this gift of devotion becomes solely the wife's. Many women will use their mahr to support the entire family during tough times.
Gifts for the Groom
One of the most popular gifts the groom will receive from the family is a copy of the Koran. He will receive this before the ceremony. The family wants to be sure that he is following the teachings in the Koran throughout his marriage. After the ceremony, the family will give him another set of gifts. He spends the night in the bride's home in a separate room. The next morning the family showers him with gifts such as watches, robes and necklaces.
Blessings are highly regarded in the Islamic religion. Many times, a devout Muslim will not perform certain tasks without the gift of a blessing. In the book, "Modern Muslim Societies," Florian Pohl writes "The groom receives blessings from the older woman and offers them his salaam (a respectful salutation). The guests pray for the newlyweds." At a separate family gathering a day or so afterwards the families spend time speaking blessings over the others' family.
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