Simple wedding
A wedding party held in defiance of a ban on such events in Oman has resulted in one of the guests being infected by COVID-19. Image Credit: Stock image

Abu Dhabi: A wedding party attended by 150 people was held in a governorate, in defiance of a ban on gatherings to stop the spread of COVID-19, Dr Ahmad Al Saidi, Oman’s Minister of Health, said in a press briefing on Thursday.

“No one reported them, but a few days later, an 18-year-old girl came to the health centre with symptoms of the COVID-19 disease. Upon investigation, it was discovered that there was a wedding that many attended,” Al Saidi said.

The minister urged members of the public to report on violators, and said everyone should be committed to the national and religious duty.

It was not immediately known whether the bride, the groom, families and guests of the party were tested for the virus or not.

Oman Thursday registered 322 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing to 4,341 the country’s overall infections.

The newly diagnosed cases include 80 Omanis and 242 foreigners, the ministry said without giving a breakdown of foreign patients’ nationalities.

The ministry reported no new COVID-19 fatalities, keeping such deaths in Oman at 17.

The total number of recoveries in the country has increased by 14 to reach 1,303, according to the ministry.

Weddings in Oman are traditionally celebrated separately by the bride and groom. The women’s celebrations are grand affairs steeped in customs, rituals, and traditions. In Muscat, traditions remain important to brides, but the sophisticated, urban population now crave an international, modern touch.

These festive gatherings are attended by hundreds of guests who sing, and dance, and call out zagareeth, a high pitched ululation that women throughout the Middle East commonly use to congratulate the bride.

Towards the end of the evening, the groom (sometimes accompanied by family members) enters the party, dressed in a traditional white dishdasha, with a silver khanjar (dagger) tucked in his belt and a colourful mussar (turban), which these days, is usually colour coordinated to match the bride’s wedding colours. The women slip back into their abayas and scarves and watch as the groom walks up the aisle. Sometimes the bride and groom remain on the stage and family members go up to shower money on them and take photos and other times they make a quick exit. At the end of the evening, the room explodes with applause and zagheerat as the couple exit and the groom takes his bride to her new home.