Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps


August 11, 2008 Wedding Season

Here’s a wedding analogy for you: August is to Morocco as June is to the US.

There are weddings every weekend, and sometimes on weekdays, too. The music/dancing/celebrating/public part of the weddings – always outside, and involving **everyone** in the community – is called a Hey Deuce. (Or at least, that’s how I’ve always spelled it in my head. It’s probably written something like “hay doos”, but whenever I hear it, I think “Hey Deuce”, so that’s what y’all are getting.) I’d thought that a Hey Deuce was any party with music, and I still think it might be, but when my cousin invited me to come with her to a wedding – a tamghra – she also said Hey Deuce. To clarify, I asked, “Tamghra, Hey Deuce, kif-kif?” “Eyyah, kif-kif,” she agreed. So now you know as much as I do.

A Hey Deuce wedding procession follows a path from the bride’s house to the groom’s house (or vice-versa – I’m not positive). Everyone who knows the happy couple and owns a car comes together to make a headlight-flashing, horn-honking, brake-riding motorcade that alerts everyone for miles around to the face that a wedding is afoot. Everyone who doesn’t own a car flocks around and moseys along with the motorcade (yeah, it’s that slow). Every once in a while, the Hey Deuce band strikes up a number, and the dancing starts. Men stand shoulder-to-shoulder to form a ring (or, if there aren’t enough men around, an arc) around dancing women. When they get to their final destination, they stop outside of the house (or within a block or so, if there’s a conveniently located open space conducive to dancing).

The men kind of shrug their shoulders in time to the music, sometimes with a little side-to-side shuffle. Yeah, the male dance routine = not hard to pick up. Even guys with two left feet, no sense of rhythm, and a walker could dance along with these dudes. The women, though, are swaying, shuffling, stomping, hip-swinging, shoulder-shrugging, hair-tossing, shimmying visions of grace and rhythm.

Highlights of The Season so far:

A guy in a “Tektonik Killer” shirt crashed the dancing and put the moves on the ladies (borderline Hshuma, but not egregious).

The music. There’s always a live band – that’s what makes it a Hey Deuce – and they’re a blast to listen to and dance to. Although interestingly, folks don’t clap at the end of each number. The band usually consists of several drummers on drums that look like big tambourines plus one guy playing an oboe-like instrument. (You know the snake charmers you’ve seen in movies? Yeah, that’s the instrument.)

The little clasps on the back of the kaftan that turn a column dress into a form-fitted one. Some are as simple as a safety pin, others look like the laces on a corset, and there are as many variations as there are families, but they all serve to create a waist in a garment that was originally designed to hide the curves of a woman’s body. Without these, the dancing would look a lot less interesting, since most of the moves are hip-centered and would be invisible under a loosely-draped caftan.

In a related note: hip belts. American fashion does everything it can to draw attention away from the hips, usually the widest part of a woman’s body. Here, women tie spangly coin belts (the fake coins are called mzum*) snug around the widest part of their hips, and then … shake what their mama gave ’em, as the saying goes.

It’s no coincidence that these “highlights” all relate to dancing. The dancing is my favorite part of the Hey Deuces.

Oh, a dance-free highlight: Cousins I hadn’t seen in a month *lit up* when they saw me. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.

* That’s what it sounds like when they say it, but when I repeated it back to them, they slowed it down: the full word is mrzum.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps