Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat- Al-Ahsa Governorate in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province will play host to a series of mass weddings on July 2, where 700 couples in the surrounding towns and villages will be married.
The committee in charge of this is putting the finishing touches on each of these mass weddings. Abdullah al-Meshal informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the six member committee was supervising the celebrations and had also established educational workshops – the first of their kind – for the festivals officials. These workshops included; “Successful Management” by Dr. Abdel-Aziz al-Bahrani, “Treasurers” by Salman al-Hajji, “Guidance and Culture” by Ahmed Boshajea, and “The Role of the Media in Mass Weddings” by Jafar Omran.
Al Meshal added that following rumours that mass weddings were behind the rise in the cases of divorce in the region, the committee had distributed questionnaires to nine different [mass wedding] festivals with the aim of finding the number of divorce cases that occurred in couples married at a mass wedding. It was discovered that over the past three years only one such case exists.
Al Meshal added that a study prepared by the committee revealed last year’s fiscal deficit occurred because mass wedding festivals were only being held over two nights. The study presented to Al-Ahsa governorate called for this time-frame for mass weddings to be increased beyond two nights.
Al Meshal informed Asharq Al-Awsat that 19 mass wedding festivals are being held this year in Al-Ahsa Governorate, compared to the 18 festivals held last year, after al-Omran city – that had previously withdrawn from hosting mass weddings – re-joined in this practice. Al Meshal added that the average cost for a single mass wedding festival is around 300,000 Saudi Riyals [SR], saving each couple between 50,000 [SR] – 70,000 [SR].
Al Meshal also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that mass weddings will take place from 2 July, and that on the first night mass weddings will take place in the cities of al-Jafir, al-Sabbat, al-Fudhool, al-Munaizlah, and al-Markaz. The second night for mass weddings in Al Ahsa Governorate will take place on 15 July and ceremonies will take place in the cities of al-Garrah, al-Holailah, al-Garn, al-Shu’bah, al-Mutairifi, and al-Battaliyah. The next day, al-Omran, al-Jubail, al-Towaithir, al-Daliwah, al-Rumailah, and al-Tarf will also host mass weddings.
There are a number of organizing committees monitoring each mass wedding, and the total number of volunteers number at lest 6,000. This includes administrators, supervisors, and members of each city’s organizing committee, all of whom will receive and cater for guests. Al Meshal informed Asharq Al-Awsat that mass weddings are social and humanitarian projects undertaken by the government to support the public.
The idea for mass weddings was launched in Al Ahsa 20 years ago, and during this period around 15,000 couples have been married in various cities and villages of the province for a fee of around 7,000 SR each.