Attending a Katb-Ketab

by | Egyptian Arabic Articles

As we’re heading toward the end of summer here in Egypt, we’re also heading toward the end of what’s known as “the wedding season” مَوْسِم الأفْراح muusim il-afraaH. Usually, people think summer is the perfect time for weddings because that’s when the sky is at its bluest and the weather is lovely  الجَوْ حِلْو ilgaw Hilw.

If you know an Egyptian couple getting married, they’ll invite you not only to their wedding but also to their katb ketab كَتْب كِتاب katb kitaab. Ever heard about that? Well, a katb ketab is a ceremony usually held before the wedding where the couple getting married recite their oaths and sign a marriage contract قسيمِة جَواز I2asiimit gawaaz. However, some couples choose to do the katb el ketab on the day of the wedding.

It’s a very delightful event to attend. The bride العروسة  il3aruusa and the groom العريس  il3ariis invite all of their friends and families to their katb ketab place. Some people choose to do it in a mosque  مسْجِد masgid, others do it in an open park جنينة ganiina. On the katb ketab day, the people invited المعازيم  ilma3aziim arrive before the bride and groom. They are usually offered chocolate and sweets حَلَوِيات  Halawiyaat. As soon as the couple arrives, the atmosphere is filled with sounds of زغاريط zaghariiT–sounds women do with their tongues in weddings and such celebrations to express happiness. It’s literally like saying lulululy. Yes, it’s a little funny. After that, the couple, their fathers and a marriage officiant مأْذون  ma2zuun sit together on a table. The couple begins to repeat vows after the officiant and then sign the marriage contract. Their fathers also sign as witnesses on their marriage. Then everyone prays for them and tells them “blessed marriage” مبْروك الجَواز mabruuk ilgawaaz. At this point, the only thing left for the couple to be husband and wife is the wedding itself.

Also, if you are a single person attending a katb ketab or a wedding, you’ll hear the word عُقبالك  I3u2baalak a lot. In this context it means “may you, too, get married and have a blessed life”. So, to everyone who’s single and reading this article, عُقبالك  I3u2baalak!