As we’re heading toward the end of summer here in Egypt, we’re also heading toward the end of what’s known as mūsim ilʔafrāɧ موسِم الافْراح “the wedding season.” Usually, people think summer is the perfect time for weddings because that’s when the sky is at its bluest and the weather is الجَوّ حِلْو ilgáwwə ɧilw lovely.
If you know an Egyptian couple getting married, they’ll invite you not only to their wedding but also to their katb kitāb كَتْب كِتاب katb ketab. 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 ʔasīmit gawāz قسيمِة جَواز a marriage contract. However, some couples choose to do the katb el ketab on the day of the wedding.
It’s a very delightful event to attend. il3arūsa العروسة the bride and il3arīs العريس the groom invite all of their friends and families to their katb ketab place. Some people choose to do it in a másgid مسْجِد mosque; others do it in ganēna جنيْنه an open park. On the katb ketab day, ilma3azīm المعازيم the people invited arrive before the bride and groom. They are usually offered chocolate and ɧalawiyāt حَلَوِيات sweets. As soon as the couple arrives, the atmosphere is filled with sounds of zaɣarīʈ زغاريط–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 maʔzūn مأْذون marriage officiant 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 mabrūk ilgawāz مبْروك الجَواز blessed marriage. 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 3uʔbālak عُقبالك 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, 3uʔbālak! عُقبالك