Wed­ding sea­son hits the wal­let hard

The Myanmar Times - - World -

FOR Pales­tini­ans, sum­mer is wed­ding sea­son – time for brides and grooms to cel­e­brate. But for guests, who are ex­pected to help cover the costs, it can mean fi­nan­cial mis­ery.

The tra­di­tion of naqout en­cour­ages those in­vited to do­nate cash to help pay for the of­ten lav­ish feasts.

They pick up an en­ve­lope, fill it with cash, usu­ally sign it and place it in a box strate­gi­cally placed at the en­trance.

Tech­ni­cally, the do­na­tions are vol­un­tary, but hosts take a dim view of those fail­ing to meet ex­pec­ta­tions.

Some Pales­tini­ans see the tra­di­tion as a way to share the costs of im­por­tant com­mu­nity events. But oth­ers say the so­cial pres­sure to con­trib­ute pushes them into dire fi­nan­cial straits.

Mu­rad Shriteh, 46, from near the West Bank city of Ra­mal­lah, said he feels swamped after be­ing in­vited to more than one wed­ding a week.

He spent US$400, nearly half his monthly salary, in just two weeks of wed­dings, he said at a wed­ding party in the West Bank town of Birzeit.

“I have al­ready re­ceived sev­eral in­vi­ta­tions for the rest of Au­gust, but I think I will refuse a few,” Mr Mu­rad said.

The West Bank sees more than 25,000 wed­dings a year.

So­cial pres­sures and tra­di­tion mean that most are ex­trav­a­gant cel­e­bra­tions, with much of the com­mu­nity in­vited.

They tend to in­volve moun­tains of food, live mu­sic and a pho­tog­ra­pher. The most lav­ish cel­e­bra­tions even of­fer each guest a tra­di­tional Pales­tinian scarf or a rosary.

A wed­ding can cost up to $30,000, while even a poor fam­ily may shell out $10,000. –

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