A typical wedding in Sudan has thousands of guests, and the celebration may continue for several long nights in some parts of the country.
At a traditional wedding party, the groom wears a white outfit called a jalabiya and the bride wears a red traditional outfit called a toub with golden accessories. The ceremony, or jertig, is based on clothing and traditions that have been traced to Nubian pharaohs. The night is a time for tribal dances and celebrations.
These weddings are my favorite days, so when my boyfriend proposed to me, my family and friends expected nothing less. My engagement party, for instance, had 300 guests.
But the coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to large gatherings, disrupting our plans for a March wedding. I not only had to cancel all of our bookings, I also moved out of my parents’ house so as not to put them at risk from the virus.
So now I’m alone and trying to figure out the next step.
Since the pandemic began, some of my friends have held small weddings and complied with all the health recommendations for social distancing. None of them had more than 20 guests.
But I am the first of my parents’ children to marry, and they want a big celebration.
We haven’t decided on a date because it’s not possible to book a venue for the wedding until the lockdown ends. But there is a strong feeling that even when the restrictions are lifted, the virus will still be a threat.
As a result, the government is considering a new law that would prohibit the use of large halls for wedding celebrations for one year.
So we’ll have to decide when and how to hold our wedding without putting those we care for in danger, even if the lockdown ends.
COVID-19 has not only altered our daily lives; it may also force us to change our traditions, including my wedding.