Egypt culture about marriage differs from one era to another. As we know Egypt has a very long history started from about 3200 B.C. as most scholars assured.
During the ages and eras, Egypt had customs and habits which varied through ages. Now we are going to talk about two interesting facts about marriage in Egypt.
- The First Fact: Political Marriage through Ages.
- The Second Fact: Wedding Dress.
Political Marriage through Ages
Political marriages were mainly performed to gain certain benefits in the first place.
This was expected in ancient times when the girl had no choice except in very rare case but to accept when the bridegroom was introduced to her by the parents.
Therefore, the kings; the sole decision makers used to choose for their sons and daughters such marriages which had consolidated their positions in the wide political sense.
This matter was remarkable in the marriages which took place among the princes and princesses to bond the linkage between two countries.
In the distant past, this could be traced in the peace pact signed between Ramses II and the king of the Hittites who escorted his daughter to the Egyptian territories for Ramses II to take as a wife.
This was undoubtedly a clear fact about political marriage by all means. Moreover, it was like signing a friendship and cooperation treaty between the two heads of states.
Moreover, out of courtesy, and when the king wanted to approach his neighbor, amicably a monarch or dignitary, he would send him his daughter to take for a wife if he would treat her as a legitimate royal wife and cause her to maintain the status of a queen.
Tuthmosis IV, Amenhotep III, and Amenhotep IV were examples since they had taken for political reasons-princesses from Babylon and Mitan and made them great royal wives.
The Islamic ages
In the Islamic ages, the same form of political marriage took place between Qatr El-Nada the daughter of Khamarawyh, and the Abbassid Caliph al-Mutadid.
The idea of this marriage between the Tulunides and the Abbassid Caliph in 278 A.H. and his son Abu-El-Abbassid Al-Mutadid had succeeded him.
Khmaraweh felt that it was so important to maintain amicable and good relationships with the new Caliph.
Therefore he delegated his representative Al-Hassan Ibn Abdullah, nicknamed Ibn al-Gassas, with gifts and presents which implied the richness, and prosperity of Egypt.
In the meantime, Khamarawey instructed his representative to negotiate a marriage agreement between the Caliph’s son and Qatr El-Nada; Khamawareh’s daughter, which the Caliph accepted in a condition that, Qatr El-Nada would be a wife for him, instead of his son.
This marriage had “beneficial” reasons for both parties. Khamarawey wanted in the first place to consolidate his relationship with the Caliph and Abbassid Caliphate in Baghdad.
This would save him conspiracies and threats against him. For the Abbassid Caliph, the marriage meant that Egypt would be guaranteed under his control and submission, which made it purely political marriage.
Another example was that of al-Nasir Muhammed Ibn Qalawun who married the Mongol princess Tolenbay as stated by Al-Maqrizi in his Book “El-Khutat” to eliminate the bitter taste of defeat of the Mongols by the Egyptian armies.
However, the Mongols requested an expensive dowry for their princess of one thousand Dinars, one thousand horses, and on thousand complete war gears, and moreover, a company of Egyptian women would come to escort the bride to Egypt from the homeland.
Three years hardly passed when the Mongols had willingly sent to the Sultan a princess.
One of the grandchildren of Genghis Khan, Talenbay with a company of Mongol princes, and sixty maids, marriage ceremonies took place in the Citadel (720 A.H. 1320 A.D.) for a dowry of thirty thousand Dinars.
This marriage lasted for eight years.
It is remarkable that this approach of marriage was well-known, and customary since the Ancient Egyptians, and survived through the Islamic ages.
Egyptian culture: wedding dress
The white dress of the bride which we see it now, it dated back originally to the ancient Egyptian civilization.
And it considered as one of the most prominent facts about the wedding in ancient Egypt.
The ancient Egyptians used to have the wedding dress made of white linen.
No wonder since the white color symbolized clarity and purity, and implied hope for a happy marriage, a life free from problems and troubles.
The color also implied spiritual purity. Meanwhile, the wedding dress had enjoyed a special status in the Pharaonic era.
In a marriage contract, it was stipulated that the dowry should be “a dress of white linen”, worn by the bride on her wedding day.
Therefore, in this case, the wedding dress was the symbol of marriage. Princess Nefret put on this dress of white linen while sitting beside her husband.
It is noteworthy that the bride attaches great importance to the wedding dress which shapes her up in such unique and unforgettable night throughout her life.
Nowadays, it has become a custom that the bride is provided with three dresses for the marriages occasion:
- One in pink color which she wears before the wedding in “Henna night”.
- The other in brown which she puts on when the wedding contract is executed.
- And the third in white used on the wedding night.
The Egyptians today concern themselves with clothes in general and the wedding dress in particular.
However, the Ancient Egyptians and their successors agree on the color of the wedding dress; the white color.
The folklore songs include numerous examples of the marriage on the wedding night, the wedding dress etc… for example:
Oh, you beautiful bride,
The bride comments:
No, U would not leave my house until he (the bridegroom) brings me new earrings, from a jeweler’s shop.
So we can conclude that the white dress in an ancient Egyptian habit.
And also the political marriage is one of the most ancient Egypt facts that were happened for certain purposes as mentioned before.