By Lucia *

The zeffa is an Egyptian wedding ritual but many couples of other Middle Eastern nationalities have adopted it as part of their wedding celebration. Often, they incorporate the zeffa with their own indigenous rituals and music. The shemadan is also performed in theatricalized and folkloric performance settings, and it is a native, folkloric dance form indigenous to Egypt.

Originally, the zeffa procession occurred at night, winding through the streets of the bride’s parent’s neighborhood to her new home, at the groom’s residence. The procession was led by dancers, musicians, singers and the wedding party with their family and friends. There are special musical pieces with the distinguished zeffa rhythm. After the procession, the shemadan artist performed a solo with other dancers.

During the 20th century, the zeffa became widely adopted by other Middle Eastern cultures and couples began to use a zeffa procession in ballrooms, hotels and other event centers.   

There is a consensus that an Arabic Weddings or Zeffas’ – can be one of the most exciting events for you to perform in. They are one of the treasured days in a couple’s life – with everlasting memory for the bridal party and their guests. It is important for you to prepare for this special day so that your contribution will be magical and enrich the ceremony.

altTo properly prepare for a zeffa, please conduct some research. It is pertinent for you to learn about the couple’s ethnicity, their customs, music and costume preferences. If you are dancing with a prop, practice with it in a confined setting because you will likely dance in a large crowd. Look at the space/layout of the dance floor or areas you will be dancing. Find out if the bride and groom want you to use a certain prop at a specific time in the ceremony. Determine if there are overhangs, arches, fans, stairs, or other objects which could be problematic for your costuming or prop choice. If you are dancing to live music, speak with the musicians ahead of time to coordinate music choices. Obtain a signed contract and deposit. This may alleviate any potential problems. Lastly, arrive refreshed and prepared to celebrate this day in honor of the bridal party and their guests…. Enjoy!!      

*Lucia is an award winning artist, troupe director, gala producer and instructor. She has performed at many zeffas, and has been featured in Bridal magazines, the Belly Dance Magazine and at prestigious events. For booking or classes, see