I don’t like going to weddings. But in every summer I get to go to more than my fair share of them. It’s just one part of the social obligations that come with the ties we talked about before. And with the high number of young single men in the family, it seems there is always a wedding around the corner. We had one last month, another this week, and we have three upcoming weddings in one household scheduled for later this year. Below is a short video I took during a family wedding two days ago.

Jeddawi weddings

Qusay has an interesting blogpost about Jeddawi weddings. Few weeks ago I was contacted by a company who said they are working on documentaries about different wedding customs in the different regions in Saudi Arabia. I don’t know if it’s the same company that Qusay is talking about, but I agree with him that it’s a good idea to put the info out there.

How to Wear a Ghotra

Although the header of this blog shows my picture in a thobe and ghotra, those who know me know that I don’t wear them very often. And whenever I wear the ghotra, which is usually in a wedding or similar occasions, I face the dilemma of how to wear it. Unlike the necktie, where you are limited to a few choices when it comes to how to tie one and there are guidelines and tutorials on how to do it, there are so many different ways to wear the ghotra and there is no such thing as The Ultimate Ghotra Wearing Guide. However, last week I received an email that showed two dozens styles of ghotra wearing, and I thought I would share some of them here…

Very simple. Just throw one end of the ghotra on the opposite shoulder and you are good to go.


Similar to Modesty, only this time you take the other end of the ghotra and left it on the aforementioned shoulder.

Mr. X

Throw both ends of the ghotra onto the opposite shoulder. Suitable for desert trips and cold weather.


This one is usually sported by ministers and big officials, as well as in weddings and receptions. You just let your ghotra down, probably with some little folds on both sides of the mirzam, which is the area of the ghotra in the middle of the forehead.


Again, you let the ghotra down only this time it goes behind your back. It is very simple and makes for easy quick movement, which is why it is perfect for teachers.


Modern with a traditional touch, this style is popular among students. You bring one end of the ghotra from behind and put it in front of the opposite shoulder, while the other end remains in the back.

Abu Rashed

Named after Khaled Abu Rashed, lawyer of the infamous drifter Abu Kab, who allegedly mastered this style. You through one end of the ghotra above your head while leaving the other end as it is.


As you can see, this one looks like a scale from the front. You through both ends above the head with a slight angle while leaving space to form what resembles scalepans.


This one got very popular in the 90’s, and it gets its name from the highly venomous snake. You need a large amount of starch to preserve that look, and you need to be careful when you move your head because quick moves might destroy it.


Unlike the Cobra which limits the motion range of the neck, probably causing a long lasting pain in the area, this one allows for freer movement. Easy and flexible, it makes for a full view of the face and it has a touch of elegance to it.

Bint al-Bakkar

The name has a historical background that I don’t fully understand, but this style has become one of my favourites lately. Not easy to master, but when done right it is quite steady and looks very nice.

Here’s a picture of me and my brother Hassan during a recent engagement party in Hofuf, both sporting Bint al-Bakkar:


On Saudi Marriages

Summertime is the preferred season for marriages in Saudi Arabia. I don’t like going to weddings but I always find myself socially obliged to attend quite a few of those between June and August every year, and this year more than before, many people who see me there ask me if I’m getting married soon. No, I say, not anytime soon. But as more and more of my peers tie the knot, the pressure from family and society as a whole increases and keeps mounting.

When friends ask what is keeping me off marriage, I give these answers:

  • I’m not ready to make that kind of commitment yet; I want to learn more about life, I want to travel and meet new people
  • I don’t like the traditional way in which people get married here; it’s blind and random and I don’t think it will work for me

The next question on people’s minds is usually this: so if you don’t like the old fashioned way of getting married, how do you intend to get married? Well, I say, I have a plan:

I would go on with my life, somewhere down the road I would meet someone, I we would get to know her each other, fall in love and marry her get married.

The reaction to my seemingly simple plan is usually: “then you will never get married.” This could be true in a sense because the extreme segregation of sexes in our society makes the chances of meeting a potential spouse pretty slim, if nonexistent. But as with many other things in the magic kingdom, I try to remain optimistic and not lose hope.

My mother, who was first shocked when I told her my plan, has recently made her peace with it. She said to me: “I’m done arguing with you about this marriage thing, so I will let you enjoy your little funky plan for now, but I’m pretty sure that in two years time you will come around begging me to find you a good girl.” I smiled and murmured: we will see…