Wedding rituals in Daraa: heavy burdens on groom

A bridal clothing store in the town of Tafas in southern Daraa governorate - 10 November 2022 (Enab Baladi/Halim Muhammad)

A bridal clothing store in the town of Tafas in southern Daraa governorate - 10 November 2022 (Enab Baladi/Halim Muhammad)

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Daraa – Halim Muhammad

The high costs of marriage contributed to pushing some young men in the southern governorate of Daraa to refrain from the idea of ​​emotional and social bonding.

The wedding ceremony is a social ritual and a moment that the couple records in the archive of their memories. It has become an indispensable source of material exhaustion due to the customs and traditions of the region, as well as the requirements placed on the shoulders of young men, which do not begin with securing and equipping the house and do not end with living conditions.

The wedding ritual is accompanied by a set of activities and obligations that must be implemented before the promised moment in order for the bride to appear in the best possible way.

This is done through three steps in which the women, accompanied by the bride, go to the hairdresser to adorn themselves for the engagement day, the “Henna” day (pre-wedding event), and finally, the wedding day, without canceling the costs incurred by the three visits to the women’s hairdresser.

The costs usually range between 1 million SYP to 1,5 million SYP, for the bride’s makeup and hairstyling on each of these occasions, according to what was reported by Enab Baladi’s correspondent in Daraa.

No control

The 25-year-old Hussein, who works in an olive field in the western countryside of Daraa, is about to get married, but he considered the costs of the women’s hairdressing salon in itself an exhausting financial burden, linking the matter at the same time to what he said was “lack of oversight.”

The young man told Enab Baladi, “The pricing in women’s barbershops is uncontrolled, and there is no unified pricing.

“Each hairdressing salon has prices that it sets separately from the prices of other salons in exchange for the services it provides,” he added.

The prices of these services are necessarily higher in the city of Daraa when compared to the prices in the countryside, where salons of this kind are also common.

“The bride chooses the hairdressing salon she wants, which prevents the groom from looking for a salon with lower costs and prices,” said Hussein, who paid one million SYP to prepare his bride on the day of the engagement only, and is expected to pay twice that amount on the wedding day.

(1 USD=3000 SYP due to Central Bank, but the pound is trading around 5,300 to the dollar)

​​The tariff for women’s hairdressing ranged between 300,000 and 400,000 SYP during the past year, but its increase during the current year has more than doubled.

Youssef, 28, a young man from the western countryside of Daraa, works in the field of agriculture according to the daily wage system at a wage of 15,000 Syrian pounds per day.

He explained to Enab Baladi that he wants to secure the requirements for marriage before taking this direction, including the not insignificant additional costs, such as the wages of women’s barbershops and others.

Youssef considered “marriage unattainable, in light of the high cost of living and securing a home, as well as wedding costs.”

On the other hand, the 21-year-old Dana believes that engagement and wedding ceremonies are among her most important wishes and visions for her future marriage, considering that they are the only joy of its kind that comes only once in a lifetime.

She explained to Enab Baladi that high wages, obstacles, and rising prices will not push her to give up this ritual.

Expensive costs

Saeed Qattan, a member of the Craftsman’s Association in Damascus, told the government Tishreen newspaper last July that the price of men’s and women’s haircuts differs according to the degree of classification of the barber by the craft association, pointing to the difficulty of adjusting the price due to the different hair and skin types of customers.

Qattan referred to what he considered a “confusion about barbershop tariffs,” as they amounted to one and a half million Syrian pounds in some Damascus women’s barbershops, which violates the official pricing and threatens the salon’s owner to close down or revoke the license to practice the profession.

According to Wafaa, 33, who works in a women’s barbershop, the costs also include makeup, whose prices necessarily vary according to the types of cosmetics, many of which are imported, in addition to the costs of the hairdressing salon itself, such as the absent electricity that is replaced by generators.

The wedding dress is considered part of this “ritual of adornment” despite its unique use, which can be summed up in a few hours, after which it is folded in the closets. The cost of renting a second-hand dress can reach 1 million SYP, while the price of a new one can reach 2 million SYP.

In early October, Enab Baladi prepared a report entitled “Not only for economic reasons, Syrian youth do not want to get married,” in which it dealt with the phenomenon of reluctance to marry in Syria and its causes that are not limited to economic ones, as well as the social effects of this situation.

 

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