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The Marriage Traditions in the Kabyle Regions

    Marriage in Algeria is a social practice and is typically traditional. It is first of all an act of alliance that is accompanied by a series of transactions. Traditionally, marriage has a purely family character. The girl in Kabylia marries preferably with a cousin, a relative or someone from the village. This is a way of safeguarding the name of the family, as well as the assets they may have in common.

   During the stage of the initial agreement between the fathers of the two spouses that generally took place in a public place, the family of the groom goes to the bride’s family and asks for her hand. If everyone agrees; they pronounce El- Fatiha (first Qur'anic verse), in the presence of two witnesses and the Imam.  The day on which the families must formalize the engagement, in front of the witnesses, the father of the young man proposes a sum of money generally high to prove his financial position and especially to show the value that the girl has in the eyes of his family. The father of the bride only takes only a small sum.

   First of all, women roll couscous and prepare delicious food and cookies by singing and reciting poems. After that, both groom and bride families invite individuals and families to the ceremony. The wedding celebration takes place over a period of three days, during which alternate rites that are essentially carried out by the groom's family. In the family of the bride there are few songs and dances, the feast taking place on the groom's side much more. In the afternoon of the wedding day, the groom’s family visits the bride family bringing gifts with them like semolina, meat, olive oil, vegetables, adornments and dress for the bride. Then, start the henna party accompanied with songs and dances and especially trills(Ilawlawen) .In the evening, they come back to the groom’s house to serve dinner for the guests and held Urar at night  ;the women perform dances and ancestral songs accompanied with trills of course until a late hour. During this animation, the ceremony of the henna(thokna n-el-hanni) of the groom takes place .The groom’s family members and friends form a circle around him .His mother put on table a plate and a pitcher of water for the preparation of henna, and another plate containing durum wheat, fresh eggs, a silver jewel tafezzimt elfetta. This plate also is used in order to put money to the groom by the guests. Also, she lighted three or seven candles placed next to the plate of wheat and eggs (that symbolize the groom‘s coming children).In the coming day, the lunch is served to the guests who must bring gifts to the groom.

   The bride is bathed and dressed in a traditional kabyle dress and adorned with jewels, anklets, wide bracelets, earrings, tiara and a necklace of clove and amber.

   Shortly before leaving the family home, the veil is laid. On a horse, the groom put his own wife in addition to her trousseau and other provisions: candies and donuts of cakes, etc. The procession moves away under singing and clapping hands. Just at the entrance to her new home, the bride must put in her mouth a piece of sugar which she must keep until she crosses the threshold of her new home. The mother-in-law approached the bride, handed her a pot of milk or water to drink and a sieve full of candies to throw it behind her, or the bride is asked to break an egg on the threshold of the door, this it depends on the region. After the installation of the bride and accompanying persons, the men of the family are allowed to visit the bride to give her money.

   It is on the seventh day that the parents of the bride, especially her mother, come to visit her. But in some Kabylian villages, the opposite happens. In other words, on the seventh day, it is the bride accompanied by her husband who will go to visit her parents. The seventh day is the bride’s first outing .She goes to the fountain accompanied by a group of relatives and friends and she fills a pitcher. The journey takes place in an atmosphere marked by traditional songs, trills and dances. It is with the seventh day that the festivities that surround the traditional kabyle marriage ends. Some of traditions mentioned above are still preserved till nowadays. 

Written by ARAB Sabrina


  1. Hi, I am from India (Muslim). i love a kabyle girl and want to marry her.Is it possible?

  2. You can Dream Body personally my family would never allow me to marry a non kabyle guy and still less someone outside the country but nonetheless try maybe you'll get them to consent good luck

    1. I will have my wife from Boghni :) even though it's kind of hard since most people wouldn't let an outsider marry their daughter, by an outsider i mean a non kabyle. we're all algerians ya wesmek. ur hemmelgh ara a3raveeen. vghigh tqvayliith chbaha d lherma.

  3. I am an Indian in love with a Kabyle woman from Algeria.
    We both want to get married but she is afraid of her family and the society.We love each other very much, I can speak Arabic and French too. I was born in an Arab country and grew up there but I am Indian in origin.
    Anyone with a similar experience?
    How can we convince her mother, her family?
    Thanks and God Bless

  4. I am black American woman and I'm in love with my boyfriend who is kabyle...we plan on getting married this summer, and I have the blessing of both his parents and his whole family

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