Menna is a Nubian Egyptian professor of architecture, who I met years ago graduate design school in Germany. When I found out that Menna and Hamsa were getting married in Cairo, there was no way I was going to miss this. Menna is a very strong, worldly intelligent feminist, who has taught me a lot about Nubian culture, Islam, and Egyptian culture.
Nubian culture is one of the oldest surviving civilizations dating back to the Neolithic age in the Nile Valley around Aswan in Southern Egypt and Sudan. Traditionally (including as recent as our grandparents generation), Nubians married only within their own tribe, but Nubians of our generation don't limit themselves to their specific tribe. Menna fell in love with Hamsa, who is a non-Nubian Egyptian, and they decided to pave their own path and marry with permission from their families.
The wedding celebration lasted four days and included hundreds of extended family and what seemed like a thousand friends and neighbors. Extended Nubian bridal family came together to all take part in organizing the celebration of the marriage of Menna and Hamsa in a way that you don't see in the US. Growing up with Vietnamese culture, the collective culture reminded me much of my own. It felt like a bee hive buzzing with energy with each person contributing to the celebration.
All in all, this was a magnificent, glorious wedding that left me with appreciation and adoration for the richness of Nubian culture which felt surprisingly familiar to me due to all the unexpected similarities to Vietnamese culture. Menna and her family were extremely warm and treated me as a special guest - I felt like I was part of the family and treated lovingly even though I was an outsider. My experience at Menna and Hamsa's wedding is one I will never forget and think fondly on even years later. I'm so thankful to be part of the beautiful union between one of my close friends Menna and her husband Hamsa.