Although we left Petra just as the wedding season (June/July) was getting into full swing, we were lucky enough to experience two wedding receptions in one night – both of which turned out to be completely different.
The modern wedding with the DJ
This one was wild. A semi-circle of tents had been set up around what was to become the dance floor.
The wedding started with a feast of goat mansaf, which is essentially a UFO-sized plate piled high with rice, vegetables and meat. The mansaf adorned with the skulls of our dearly departed goats were presented to the guests of honour (not us, thankfully).
After the eating, came the drinking (and not just tea), and then the party got started.
At the appointed time, the DJ whipped a sheet off his music equipment to reveal two giant speakers, a mixing desk and a double CD player. He cranked the amp up to max (and beyond) and let ‘er rip. The men all linked arms (the women partied elsewhere, in private) and swung their legs around like NFL kickers. Even the kids got jiggy in the whirl of delighted excitement.
It seems that what we were witnessing was a highly energetic version of the dabke dance.
It carried on like this for hours, so we decided to go check out another wedding which was going on down the road.
The traditional wedding with the guy dressed like Batman
This was a far more subdued affair, and as such we were surprised to see Johnny Depp there, dressed in traditional thobe and talking seriously with the older men. And that’s pretty much all that was happening – talking. And smoking, but that’s Arabia for you.
To be honest though, it was all rather pleasant, until the dancing began, and then things got weird. The men (yep, no women at this bash either), all linked arms, but instead of a DJ, the guys started singing and chanting.
An older gentleman suddenly appeared from out of nowhere, wearing a black thobe. His party trick was to hold his thobe out and swoop like Batman at the chanting men, who would surge forward as one and chase him away.
Someone told us that it was a humorous dance about the relationships between men and women, and that Batman was flirting with the men and trying to crash the party, and the men were chasing her/him away. Or something. It was hard to hear as our ears had been deadened by DJ Ultra Decibel over at the other wedding.
Anyway, it’s a struggle to find any info about this particular dance, so check out this short clip we shot on the night – apologies for the darkness, but it was, well, dark! Batman makes his appearance at around 5 seconds.
As you can see, these guys know how to party.
(BTW, If anyone can shed some light into the significance of this dance, we’d be most appreciative!)