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Traditional Jewish Wedding Music

Traditional Jewish Wedding Music

In Jewish weddings, the music is all about rhythm and dance. It is traditional in most cases, but it also depends on what music both the families would like to have in the ceremony. The following article speaks about the same.
Aparna Jadhav
Even though the world has progressed a lot, when it comes to weddings, the traditional way of doing things is always favored. We still love to hear the pipe organ or harp playing when the bride walks down the aisle. Traditional music always makes us nostalgic. Even though we have a great liking towards rock and pop, we like the soft and gentle music played during slow dances at a wedding. One type of wedding music which comprises rich and soulful sounds is the music played at Jewish weddings. As the Jewish culture and its music dates back thousands of years, the sounds which have originated vary greatly depending on the generation of each composer.

Wedding Ceremony Music

Weddings of Jewish culture are considered to be fun and special occasions. The music which is chosen to be played at the ceremony is often traditional and has many similarities to the music played at catholic weddings. Jewish people love music and hence it plays a very important role in their way of life. In these weddings, different music is played during every part of the ceremony.

Processional Music
The first part of the wedding traditions is when the bride walks up to the chuppah, or the wedding canopy, to meet her groom. This is the processional part where there are often two pieces of music which are played. They are the "Dodi Li" or the "Erev Shel Shoshanim". There can be other choices of songs for the bridal march as well, like the popular "Lechi Lach" or "The Wedding Song". Some other processional songs which can be played are:
  • Hana'ava Babanot (The Fairest of Maidens)
  • El Kabir (Mighty God)
  • Y'did Nefesh (Beloved of my Soul)
  • Nigun (Tune)
  • Erev Ba (Evening Comes)
  • S'u Sh'orim (Look up to the Gates)
  • Siman Tov (Congratulations - Good Luck!)
  • Od Y'shama & Mazel Tov (The Voice of Gladness Shall be Heard Again / Good luck to the Bride and Groom)
Wedding Dance Music
There is always a traditional dance which includes all the guests and also the newly married couple. The dance is done in a circle which is known as a Hora. Usually, there is a basic grapevine step which involves everyone moving together, first to the middle of the circle and then outwards. Another traditional practice is where the bride and groom are seated in chairs and the chairs are lifted by the guests and danced around the room. At this time, the groom holds one corner of a handkerchief and the bride holds the opposite corner and while they move, they cannot let go of the handkerchief. Some of the dance numbers for the wedding dance are:
  • Yum Balalaika (Play Balalaika)
  • V'ha'er E'ne'nu (Enlighten Our Eyes to Your Torah)
  • Hava Nagila (Let's Rejoice)
  • Waves of the Danube (The Anniversary Waltz)
  • Rabbi Elimelech Medley
  • Sunrise, Sunset (Fiddler on the Roof)
  • Chava Ballet Sequence (Fiddler On The Roof)
  • Shir Ha'Keshet (Alabina)
The music played at Jewish weddings is full of celebration and rejoicing, and is filled with tradition and culture.