Traditional Kabyle marriage
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Kabyle society has managed to keep its centuries-old traditions; marriage is generally celebrated in a family atmosphere. The celebration of a traditional Kabyle wedding is in fact an opportunity to find oneself in an extraordinary surge of solidarity specific to this society. Let's find out together how a traditional Kabyle wedding takes place .
Before tackling the different stages of Kabyle marriage, let's look at some Kabyle traditions together. Let's start with the outdated traditions . In the past, when a young man wanted to marry a young girl, his mother visited a marabout so that he could prepare an amulet for him (Harz). The young man then presented the amulet to the girl's family and usually the father was forced to accept the request. It was also customary to sacrifice a sheep or a goat on the threshold of the door of the young girl one wishes to take as a wife, provided that this is done without the family of the future wife realizing it. . If the young man succeeded in his mission, the girl's hand was granted to him.
That said, there are still customs that remain unchanged, for example it is customary to celebrate weddings at the end of summer and until the end of the fig season, in the period preceding work in the fields. called Iwejjiben . This custom shows the attachment of Kabyle society to working the land and its cycle.

Finally, once the girl's parents had agreed to give their daughter in marriage, the husband's family had to bring gifts to their daughter-in-law each time they visited her.
The different stages of Kabyle Marriage
Whether in Kabylia or elsewhere in Algeria, marriages are celebrated in several stages on both sides, that is to say with the parents of the bride and those of the groom. Let's see how this happens in Kabyle families.
The bride's preparations and dinner
A few days before the wedding, we organize the Taamamt or the bride's dinner. Even if the bride's parents organize and cover the expenses of this dinner at first glance, it is customary for the future husband's family to cover the expenses.
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During this dinner, the groom's family is accompanied by witnesses, once everyone is seated, the parents of the future husband place a certain amount of money on the ground. The father of the bride will only take a nominal sum. It's called Tucc'it. The husband's parents recover the remaining amount.
After this step, the girl's parents receive the ingredients which will be used to prepare the meal for the people who will participate in the bride's procession, the Iqfafen. Generally it is: A good piece of beef, wheat, olive oil and sen plus 1 quintal of semolina, but this varies from one region to another in Kabylia.
Subsequently, the two families bring together the women of their village to roll couscous which will be served to the people of the village as well as to the guests. This ritual takes place as in most collective work in Kabyle society, accompanied by songs and poems.
The henna ceremony
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At the future husband's house, an ox is slaughtered the day before henna. The mother will instruct a few relatives to form a procession and go to the bride's house to give her family part of the slaughtered beef as well as clothing for the bride.
On henna day, the bride must perform a very codified ritual! It’s the equivalent of the bride’s Hammam. We light a large candle, a sign of fertility and baraka. The bride washes in a specific place called takanna or taarict , a kind of extra floor in old Kabyle tazeqqa houses .
And this is where the ritual begins, the bride-to-be stands in a large earthenware dish, a sort of Djefna in which the couscous is rolled. In the dish we pour eggs, cold water and nettles. Eggs symbolize fertility, nettles awakening and endurance (thanks to their urticarial action), in certain regions the young bride washes with water in which thyme has been infused.
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As with the great ablutions, the bride begins by washing the right side, then the left. Once the ritual is finished, the eggs that were in the bath water will be cooked and served to the future groom. We will also keep some of the bath water to add to the couscous sauce which will be served to the future groom on the wedding day.
Far from cell phones and other modern means of communication, the announcement and invitation to the Henna ceremony is still done in the same way in certain villages as the ancestors did a very long time ago. A man from the family goes to the Tajma3t, the village square or the place where the village council usually meets, and extends the invitation to come and taste the couscous. This step is called Asecci n taddart . The man must throw Nnejmaat-ed ad trebh'em and Amaana ur ttaat'ilet ara 3 times. In some families it was not customary to sing in the bride's family, because of the sadness the family felt at seeing their daughter leave her father's home.

In the evening after enjoying a good couscous, it is customary to call on a group of women who will sing praises to the glory of the future spouses and the groom's family. These songs are called Asbugher . While in most Algerian regions a golden Louis will be placed on the palm of the bride before applying the henna; in Kabylia it is generally a silver jewel. The henna is done by an elderly lady from the groom's family. During this ceremony the women will continue to sing traditional songs, and two young girls will carry large candles which will symbolize the light which will illuminate the lives of the future spouses.
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On the married side, the ceremony is called Aznuzu n lhenni , the men then begin to recite verses in public, often improvised. As soon as this ceremony is over, the members of the family will share the Tacullit among the people of the village. It involves sharing dishes such as Sfenj or Khfaf and Aheddour (a kind of thin pancakes like Rougueg or Chakhchoukha leaves) After the Tacullit the festivities will continue .

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