Mosul witnessed its first traditional wedding since the defeat of the so-called Islamic State last July as Ahmed Abdali, a Mosul local, married his wife in the Old City.
While other weddings have taken place in Mosul, and indeed other former ISIS-held areas in the region, this is the first to have taken place under the arches of the historic Old City, and following the traditional, Moslawi customs.
“This is the first wedding to be held according to Mosul traditions,” said Ahmed. “I hope that the Old City returns, along with old traditions that should be treasured. As you have seen, ISIS is broken and over; it will never ever return”.
The attendees to the wedding wore traditional dress, while the wedding itself was carried out according to Moslawi rites, traditions and customs. The pre-celebration was also held in one of the city’s oldest cafes.
After the celebration, the crowd drove across the Old Bridge, which links the Old City in western Mosul to the eastern part of the city, beeping horns and waving their flags as they enjoyed the occasion.
Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, reopened the Old Bridge two weeks ago after its destruction during the fight to liberate the city. Its reopening came almost a year after Iraqi Security Forces retook the bridge from ISIS militants.
Returning celebrations and weddings like these demonstrate a sense of normalcy returning to people who have suffered immensely under ISIS rule.
“We want to promote happiness and joy in the city of Mosul. Today, it’s true that we have lost a lot after the war, but we need hope, optimism, and joy,” said one of the men attending the wedding. “This place [Mosul] is a cultural podium, but at the same time, to everyone who supports coexistence, peace, and love in this city, this place is used for this message”.