Feature: Gazans change style of wedding celebrations amid COVID-19 outbreak

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by Sanaa Kamal

GAZA, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) — Muawiya al-Jbour from the Gaza Strip celebrated his wedding at his small house over the concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 27-year-old computer engineer told Xinhua that his wedding ceremony was limited to the participation of a few of his family members.

“I cannot wait until the virus crisis ends,” the groom said, adding that the initial date of his wedding was on Aug. 30, but he decided to postpone it because of the coronavirus outbreak.

On Aug. 24, Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry declared the first four cases infected with COVID-19 inside the community.

As a result, the local authorities have imposed a full lockdown on the entire enclave in order to contain the deadly virus.

Since then, all schools, universities, markets, and private institutions are closed and public gatherings are prohibited.

Ahmed al-Salehi from al-Mughazi refugee camp in central Gaza Strip celebrated his wedding with a special ceremony held in a public street.

“I was so lucky. I had an extraordinary wedding ceremony,” the 29-year-old groom told Xinhua.

“Happiness is not linked to specific things. It can occur if a person accepts the reality and puts his or her requirements aside,” the young man said.

However, Ibtissam Harara, mother of another groom, refused to give up the traditional wedding party for her eldest son.

The 50-year-old mother of four told Xinhua that she is waiting to participate in her eldest son’s wedding.

“I postponed everything, and when Hamas eases the lockdown, we can organize our celebration,” the woman explained.

Meanwhile, dozens of owners of wedding halls are expected to suffer significant losses as they are forced to give back the money they received as a deposit for the celebrations.

Alaa Abu Abdu, the owner of Salsabeel’s wedding hall in central Gaza, told Xinhua that he lost tens of thousands of U.S. dollars because of the closure.

“Most of my customers asked me to pay back their deposits, while others postponed their celebrations until further notice,” the 58-year-old father of four said.

There are about 500 tourism establishments in the Gaza Strip, such as wedding halls, restaurants, and hotels, which have been closed amid the lockdown.

So far, Gaza’s health ministry has recorded 1,551 coronavirus cases and 10 fatalities. Enditem

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