By AFP – Jan 02,2017 – JORDAN TIMES
Algerian women sing during a group wedding ceremony, organised by a charity for economically disadvantaged people and orphans, in the Sahara desert village of In-Salah, south Algeria, on December 21, 2016 (AFP photo)
AIN SALAH, Algeria — Gathered in a tent in the Algerian desert, 30 young women are preparing for a big day many thought they could never afford — a wedding.
Draped in beaded fabrics, the women lift their veils so make-up can be applied to their faces and hold out their hands for henna tatoos, the smell of incense wafting through the tent.
The next day, their 30 grooms gather separately, dressed in traditional robes, their heads wrapped in turbans.
Ornamental swords rest on their laps as they sit cross-legged on carpets outside, listening quietly to chants and drumming as they are shaved and kohl is applied around their eyes.
In the evening, the girls will be brought to the grooms’ family homes, lifting their veils to reveal their faces to their new husbands.
“For us, tradition is paramount, a woman is not properly married if she doesn’t follow our traditions,” says Hadja Hnizga, a volunteer helping to prepare the ceremonies.
The 30 couples, all from poor families, are taking part in a mass wedding organised by charitable association “SOS 3e-age El-Ihsane”.