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Wrapped by their families with streamers of dollar bills, when they enter their reception, Roulla and Majid dance together. Soon they will join the guests, who are line dancing to the drum beat of a Middle Eastern band and singers. An American rock band alternates to provide music for couple dancing.
Katrina Thomas's notes: I photograph two weddings in a large affluent Jordanian Arab community established in Yonkers, NY, the nuptial rites taking place in the Syriac Orthodox Church. The celebrations begin on an evening before the wedding with a shower for the bridegroom in his family home, for which he is prepared by not shaving for seven days. He is soaped and showered by his friends, while women ululate and sing outside the door. When dressed he is carried to the assembled guests, seated in a chair, his face lathered and shaved by men and women who take turns swiping at his chin. On the wedding day, at the bride's house, the bridegroom's father, bringing money in envelopes, formally asks her father for her hand in marriage. After the Antiochean nuptial rite conducted in Arabic and English, a lavish reception begins with the two families welcoming the couple by winding around them streamers of attached dollar bills. Food is plentiful and continuous music is provided by two bands. A Middle Eastern band plays for folk dancing of the Levant, known in Arabic as debke, stomping the feet. An American band plays for rock 'n' roll.