Lebanon’s Kahlil Gibran: The voice that united the East and the West

Lebanon’s Kahlil Gibran: The voice that united the East and the West
Almost a century after the publication of ‘The Prophet,’ Kahlil Gibran’s popularity continues to soar from generation to generation. (Getty Images) 
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Updated 27 October 2022

Lebanon’s Kahlil Gibran: The voice that united the East and the West

Lebanon’s Kahlil Gibran: The voice that united the East and the West
  • For this week’s edition of our series on Arab icons, we profile the late Lebanese American artist Kahlil Gibran
  • The writer of ‘The Prophet’ continues to strike a chord with audiences across the world more than 90 years after his death

DUBAI: As a writer and painter who was equally accomplished in both disciplines, Kahlil Gibran is undoubtedly one of Middle East’s greatest cultural exports. The Lebanese-American artist, author and philosopher is best known for his 1923 book of prose poetry “The Prophet,” a book of 26 prose poetry fables written in English.

And while his work in English proved popular among the masses, the critical response, at the time, was less forgiving, perhaps because many of those critics didn’t yet have the tools to fairly judge a writer with strong Eastern influences.

Almost a century after the publication of “The Prophet,” however, Gibran’s popularity continues to soar from generation to generation.

“Gibran was the voice of the East that finally made it to the West and found that the West was hungry for spirituality,” Glen Kalem-Habib, a Lebanese-Australian filmmaker and research historian, and founder of the Kahlil Gibran Collective, tells Arab News. “Just take a look at the time period that he was around. There were a lot of great thinkers, poets, writers and artists and they all congregated in New York. So it was a great melting pot and Gibran had his finger on the on the pulse. He knew something great was coming; there was this industrialized nation that was being born and all this new technology coming out, there were such great innovations and thinking. So I think Gibran was kind of saying, ‘All these great technologies are going to help people. I’m going to write a book that helps people as well.’ And he did this by using his voice from the East that was Arabic in thought and process, because he was part of this incredible history of an area that dates back aeons. He was aware of that and he was in tune with that, whether it was the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ right through to the Bible and the Qur’an. It all happened in his backyard.”

Gibran was born in 1883 in the village of Bsharri near Mount Lebanon to Khalil Sa’ad Gibran and Kamila Rahmeh, both Maronite Christians. While his mother encouraged his sensitive and artistic nature (she famously gifted him a book featuring artwork by Michelangelo, which spurred in him a lifelong love for the artist and art in general), his father was a more sporadic presence.

After years of poverty and uncertainty, Kamila packed up her four children and moved to Boston to live with her relatives, leaving Gibran’s father behind in Lebanon. Kamila and the kids settled in Boston’s South End, at the time the second-largest Syrian-Lebanese-American community in the US.

Gibran, almost a teenager at the time, went to the Josiah Quincy School, where teachers soon noticed his artistic ability and he was soon also enrolled into the nearby art school, Denison House, where he was introduced to the avant-garde Boston artist F. Holland Day.

Gibran flourished. He quickly absorbed the works of Shakespeare, William Blake, W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot. “He was looking to make his mark. He was someone who lived a very sheltered life. Bsharri was so far removed, even from Beirut. So imagine, you know, 100-plus years ago, there wasn’t much (there) you could read, right? I’m pretty sure that it was very limited. So, one of the early impactful books he read was ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ by Nietzsche. He was also inspired by Wagner’s music. His first published book was a treatise on Arabic music inspired by Wagner,” says Kalem-Habib.

Gibran was also heavily influenced by Arab literature and art, including “One Thousand and One Nights” and the ancient epic “Layla and Majnun.”

“He was sort of fusing all of these influences into (something) no one ever did before. And he really, really nailed it,” Kalem-Habib says.

A still from the 2014 animated movie 'Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet.' (GKIDS)

Gibran continues to find new audiences. In 2014, Mexican actress Salma Hayek — whose father is of Lebanese descent — produced an animated film adapting Gibran’s work, titled “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.”

While Hayek’s first exposure to Gibran was through her late Lebanese grandfather, she rediscovered the book years later as a college student, an experience that she told Entertainment Weekly “was very meaningful to me, because I felt like my grandfather was teaching me about life even though he was gone.”

Discussing the film, Hayek said, “I think it’s important that people remember there’s an Arab-American writer that wrote a book that has touched so many people. It’s sold more than 120 million copies around the world and it has influenced the lives of people of all religions and creeds, ages, colors, and backgrounds. And I think that’s relevant today. I also think it’s important that we are exposed to material that reminds us of the beauty of our humanity.”



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A less high-profile but equally important adaptation came in the form of the stage musical “Broken Wings,” adapted from Gibran’s 1912 autobiographical novel.

Written by Lebanese-English West End star Nadim Naaman and Qatari composer Dana Al-Fardan, the musical is a love letter to Gibran and the Middle East. 



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“Dana and I were introduced by mutual friends back in 2016. She was in London for a concert of her own and I was performing in ‘The Phantom of The Opera’ at the time. We discovered that we both wanted to write a musical of Middle Eastern heritage which would shine a positive light on the region. Kahlil Gibran immediately stood out as an iconic Middle Eastern figure who has transcended borders and is revered in the Middle East, Europe and America,” Naaman explains. “He became a perfect focus for us: to pay tribute to him and Lebanon and also to introduce him to a wider audience and celebrate his contribution to the literary world.

“Gibran has always resonated strongly with me. His books were scattered throughout my family home as a child, his words recited at weddings, at funerals and graduations. Furthermore, as a man of Lebanese heritage who has spent his life in the West, I relate strongly to the fact that Gibran, and many other Lebanese, have spent more of their lives outside of the country than in it. As an actor, musician and writer trying to represent Lebanon internationally, there is no better role model than Gibran,” he adds.

Since it was first published, “The Prophet” has never been out of print. It has been translated into more than 100 languages, making it among the top 10 most translated books in history. Its popularity soared in the 1960s, when American counterculture was on the rise, and later among the New Age movements. 

To celebrate the book’s centenary next year, Kalem-Habib’s collective is organizing several events across the US and possibly Middle East and will unveil a new monument in New York, a city where Gibran spent a considerable amount of time and where he took his last breath in 1931, aged 48.

“Gibran was so ahead of his time. He represents many philosophical and moral ideas that the world continues to strive towards in 2022,” says Naaman. “Here was a Middle Eastern immigrant who found a new home in the West, and was writing one century ago about gender equality and women’s rights, about harmony and tolerance between religions and nationalities, about the corruption of politicians and mistreatment of the working classes, about the ability to build a new home and find belonging if one has to leave one’s own birthplace. Essentially, these all remain mainstream narratives in the global media.”

Jordan’s royal wedding day gets underway with surprise arrival of Britain’s William and Kate

Jordan’s royal wedding day gets underway with surprise arrival of Britain’s William and Kate
Updated 01 June 2023

Jordan’s royal wedding day gets underway with surprise arrival of Britain’s William and Kate

Jordan’s royal wedding day gets underway with surprise arrival of Britain’s William and Kate

AMMAN, Jordan: Jordan’s highly anticipated royal wedding day got underway on Thursday with the surprise announcement that Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate had arrived to witness the nuptials of Crown Prince Hussein and his Saudi Arabian bride.

The attendance of the British royals had been kept under wraps, and was only confirmed by Jordanian state media a few hours before the start of the palace ceremony.

The wedding of Jordan’s 28-year-old heir to the throne and Rajwa Al-Saif, a 29-year-old architect linked to her own country’s monarch, emphasizes continuity in an Arab state prized for its longstanding stability. The festivities, which are to start Thursday afternoon, also introduce Hussein to a wider global audience.

On Thursday morning, Saudi wedding guests and tourists — the men wearing white dishdasha robes and the women in brightly colored abayas — filtered through the sleek marbled lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Amman. Noura Al Sudairi, an aunt of the bride, was wearing sweatpants and sneakers on her way to breakfast.

“We are all so excited, so happy about this union,” she said. “Of course it’s a beautiful thing for our families, and for the relationship between Jordan and Saudi Arabia.”

Excitement over the nuptials — Jordan’s biggest royal event in years — has been building in the capital of Amman, where congratulatory banners of Hussein and his beaming bride adorn buses and hang over winding hillside streets. Shops had competing displays of royal regalia. Royal watchers speculated about which dress designer Al-Saif would select— still an official secret,

Nancy Tirana, a 28-year-old law intern, said she spent the last week scrutinizing Al-Saif's every move and stitch of clothing.

“She’s just so beautiful, so elegant, and it’s clear from her body language how much she loves the queen,” she said, referring to Hussein’s glamorous mother, Rania. “I feel like all of Jordan is getting married,” Tirana gushed as she ate mansaf, Jordan’s national dish of milky mutton and rice, before heading to a wedding-themed concert.

Jordan’s 11 million citizens have watched the young crown prince rise in prominence in recent years, as he increasingly joined his father, King Abdullah II, in public appearances. Hussein has graduated from Georgetown University, joined the military and gained some global recognition speaking at the UN General Assembly. His wedding, experts say, marks his next crucial rite of passage.

“It’s not just a marriage, it’s the presentation of the future king of Jordan,” said political analyst Amer Sabaileh. “The issue of the crown prince has been closed.”

Palace officials have turned the event — a week after Jordan’s 77th birthday — into something of a PR campaign. Combining tradition and modernity, the royal family introduced a wedding hashtag (#Celebrating Al Hussein) and omnipresent logo that fuses the couple’s initials into the Arabic words “We rejoice”

Photos and reels from Al-Saif's henna party — a traditional pre-wedding celebration featuring the bride and her female friends and relatives — and the couple’s engagement ceremony in Saudi Arabia last summer have splashed across state-linked media.

The kingdom declared Thursday a public holiday so crowds of people could gather after the wedding service to wave at the couple’s motorcade of red Land Rover jeeps — a nod to the traditional procession of horse riders clad in red coats during the reign of the country’s founder, King Abdullah I. Tens of thousands of well-wishers are expected to flock to free concerts and cultural events. Huge screens have been set up nationwide for crowds to watch the occasion unfold.

The signing of the marriage contract will take place at Zahran Palace in Amman, which hasn’t seen such pomp and circumstance since 1993, when, on a similarly sunny June day, Abdullah married Rania, who was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents. Decades earlier, Abdullah’s father, the late King Hussein, sealed his vows in the same garden with his second wife, the British citizen Antoinette Gardiner.

In addition to the Prince and Princess of Wales, the guest list includes an array of foreign aristocrats and dignitaries, including senior royals from Europe and Asia, as well as First Lady Jill Biden and US climate envoy John Kerry. Other likely attendees include Saudi aristocrats, as Alseif’s mother traces her roots to the influential wife of Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Her billionaire father owns a major construction firm in the kingdom.

After the ceremony, the wedding party will move to Al Husseiniya Palace, a 30-minute drive away, for a reception, entertainment and a state banquet. The royals are expected to greet more than 1,700 guests at the reception.

The royal couple: A closer look at Rajwa Al-Saif and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II

The royal couple: A closer look at Rajwa Al-Saif and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II
Updated 31 May 2023

The royal couple: A closer look at Rajwa Al-Saif and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II

The royal couple: A closer look at Rajwa Al-Saif and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II

DUBAI: As people across Jordan, and the wider Arab world, prepare to celebrate the wedding of Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah and Rajwa Al-Saif from Saudi Arabia, Arab News take a closer look at the royal power couple. 

While Al-Saif largely lived outside the public eye until the couple’s engagement was announced last year, Hussein has been in the spotlight since the moment he was born in Amman on June 28, 1994. He was appointed crown prince by royal decree on July 2, 2009. 

The crown prince has three siblings: Princess Iman, Princess Salma and Prince Hashem. (Supplied)

The 28-year-old prince, the eldest son of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, has three siblings: Princess Iman, 26, who tied the knot with financier Jameel Alexander Thermiotis on March 12, Princess Salma, 22, and Prince Hashem, 18. 

The crown prince was named after his grandfather, King Hussein bin Talal, who became king in 1952 at the age of 17 and ruled Jordan for almost five decades until his death in 1999. Hussein’s paternal grandmother is Princess Muna Al-Hussein, a British convert to Islam, and his mother is of Palestinian descent. 

He complete his high school studies in 2012 at King’s Academy in Jordan. In 2016, he graduated with a degree in international history from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. 

He is a qualified helicopter pilot. (Supplied)

Like many male members of the Jordanian royal family, including his father and grandfather, the prince attended Britain’s prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, graduating in 2017. 

He often accompanies King Abdullah during official visits in Jordan and has also embarked on several official trips abroad. Most recently, he accompanied the king and queen on a visit to Japan in April. 

“The King has been preparing the prince for years,” Samih Al-Maaytah, Jordan’s former minister of information, told Arab News. 

He holds the rank of captain in the Jordanian Armed Forces. (Instagram)

“The prince attends all the important meetings of his majesty the king with world leaders in the United Nations, Europe and at international and Arab conferences. So he is being trained directly by the king.”  

In April 2015, at the age of 20, Crown Prince Hussein became the youngest person to chair a session of the UN Security Council when he presided over an open debate on the role of youth in efforts to counter violent extremism and promote peace. As a result, in August 2015, Jordan hosted the first Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security, which produced the Amman Youth Declaration on those issues. 

The prince made his debut in front of the UN General Assembly in 2017, when he delivered a speech criticizing the focus on militarization in the Middle East. 

The crown prince with his parents. (Supplied)

He holds the rank of captain in the Jordanian Armed Forces and is often an observer at military drills in the country. He is a qualified helicopter pilot; after his first solo flight in 2018, he was doused with a bucket of water in a traditional military celebration of such occasions. 

Al-Maaytah described the prince’s relationship with the Jordanian public as “active, dynamic and close to the youth.” Hussein oversees the Crown Prince Foundation, which promotes education with a focus on technical training and initiatives to benefit young people in Jordan. 

The prince also founded the Masar Initiative to encourage youths to take an interest and pursue careers in the field of space technology, and the “Hearing without Borders” project, which provides cochlear implants for deaf children. 

“He always visits gatherings with the youth from different sectors, so he is a role model to the youth who have awareness, who are dynamic and passionate,” Al-Maaytah said. 

In the rare moments the prince has to himself to pursue his own interests, he likes to share his activities and hobbies with his 3.9 million followers on Instagram. He appears to like to stay active and particularly enjoys basketball, football, hiking, cooking and playing the guitar. 

The crown prince and Al-Saif announced their engagement in August last year during a ceremony in Riyadh, in the presence of King Abdullah, Queen Rania and Al-Saif’s family. The royal family of Jordan’s Hashemite dynasty will welcome its newest member on June 1, when the couple are due to wed at Zahran Palace in Amman, but what do we know about the future queen? 

Born on April 28, 1994, Al-Saif is the daughter of Saudi businessman Khalid bin Musaed bin Saif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saif and his wife, Azza bint Nayef Abdulaziz Ahmad Al-Sudairi. The youngest of four children, her older siblings are called Faisal, Nayef and Dana. 

The Al-Saif family traces its lineage to the Subay tribe, who have been present in the Sudair region of Najd since the beginning of the era of King Abdulaziz, the founder of modern-day Saudi Arabia. 

Al-Saif’s mother comes from the prominent Al-Sudairi family. Incidentally, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman is one of the so-called “Sudairi Seven,” an influential alliance of seven full brothers born to King Abdulaziz and Hussa bint Ahmed Al-Sudairi. 

After graduating from high school in Saudi Arabia, Al-Saif studied at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture in New York state. She also holds an Associate of Arts Professional Designation in visual communications from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. 

After a spell working at an architecture firm in Los Angeles, she returned to her native Saudi Arabia to work at the Designlab Experience design studio in Riyadh. 

Since their engagement, Al-Saif and the crown prince have made numerous public appearances together, including a visit in January to the “Fragrance of Colors” initiative in Amman, which aims to teach the blind and visually impaired to draw by identifying colors through their sense of smell. They were briefed by Suheil Baqaeen, the founder of the initiative, on the creative work of students during a workshop at Darat Suheil, a gallery and art space in Jabal Luweibdeh in Amman. 

“It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life. Believe you me, she is so simple, elegant, nice and humble,” Baqaeen told Arab News when asked about his encounter with Al-Saif. “And they both were so, so sweet. 

“They showed so much sensitivity when talking to the children. When the crown prince and Ms. Rajwa came to our simple Darat Suheil, they gave their positive energy to the children by spending time with them and talking to them. 

“It felt like a healing energy … there was no obstacle in the conversation. There was so much freedom to talk. She also asked the children about their dreams.” 

Baqaeen said Al-Saif spent time painting alongside the children. 

“She showed a lot of skill with the watercolor painting, since she is an architect and has a design background,” he added. 

The Royal Hashemite Court has yet to reveal full details of Al-Saif’s future role as a working member of the Jordanian royal family after the wedding, though it is thought likely she will follow in her mother-in-law’s footsteps as a philanthropic force to be reckoned with, first as crown princess and then as queen. 


Jordanian, Saudi wedding traditions to look out for at the royal celebrations 

Jordanian, Saudi wedding traditions to look out for at the royal celebrations 
Updated 31 May 2023

Jordanian, Saudi wedding traditions to look out for at the royal celebrations 

Jordanian, Saudi wedding traditions to look out for at the royal celebrations 

RIYADH/ DUBAI: With the spotlight firmly trained on Jordan’s royal wedding between Rajwa Al-Saif and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, observers might be wondering what wedding traditions the Saudi bride and Jordanian groom will choose for their big day. 

Here, we take a look at wedding celebrations from the two cultures that have been passed down through the generations, in anticipation of the historic union. 

Wedding practices differ across Saudi Arabia, but Al-Saif will most likely follow Najdi traditions since her family hails from Sudair and live in Riyadh, both of which are in the Najd region. 

Born-and-raised Najdi Atheer Alhowaish spoke to Arab News about the region’s time-steeped wedding traditions. 

Another practice sees the groom gift the bride’s mother gold or other jewelry. (Shutterstock)

“Tehwal is a dinner party at the groom’s house on the day after the wedding. The groom’s family invites the people at the wedding to Tehwal to welcome the bride to their family,” Alhowaish explained. Similarly, the zowarah is another form of celebration organized by either the groom’s family or the bride’s family after the newlyweds return from their honeymoon. 

Another practice sees the groom gift the bride’s mother gold or other jewelry which is offered among a wider bouquet of gifts called the shabka. 

While many cultural traditions have evolved, Abdulrhman Mashbri — the owner of La Memorias, a luxury events agency in Riyadh — told Arab News that he has seen some changes in recent years. 



“Some families now request their weddings to be outside of the Kingdom, such as in Paris or Dubai. The budget can range from SR100,000 ($26,665) to SR25-30 million. 

“In addition to that, some brides who are related to each other search for uniqueness, not by choosing the place nor by the originality of the design, but rather by celebrating their weddings together in one night,” he said.  

Prior to the wedding, brides across the Arab world often take part in a henna night — but this is not typical of Najdi celebrations. It is, however, customary in Jordan, where both Al-Saif and her soon-to-be sister-in-law Princess Iman held henna night celebrations before their respective weddings. 



In Jordan, the henna party sees women of both families come together to celebrate while the bride’s family also presents her with gifts for her wedding trousseau.   

Fast forward to the wedding day and Jordanian staples include the zaffeh, zaghrouta and nukout. 

The zaffeh, a traditional part of wedding celebrations in the Levant, is a live procession of music and dance that lasts for around 30 minutes.  

The traditional, upbeat music the troupe performs features lyrics that praise the new marriage. Drums (darbuka), horns, bagpipes and sometimes men carrying swords also feature in the traditional procession. 

Another mainstay of Jordanian weddings is dabke — a folk dance performed by professionals, before guests ultimately join in the fun. 



The dance, which features synchronized powerful stomping of the feet, has different variations. In the most popular, the dancers will be led by a lawweeh (waver), a charismatic improviser who controls both the tempo and the energy of the line. 

“Our Jordanian zaffeh is unique. The tunes, the dabke and the dances are one of a kind,” Iyad Albelbeisi, founder of Jordanian planning company Feelings Weddings, told Arab News.  

“These traditions are also common in royal ceremonies,” Albelbeisi added. 

Throughout the wedding, women perform the zaghrouta, a high-pitched ululation with their tongue that is commonly performed at wedding parties across the region. Another traditional practice at Jordanian weddings is the nukout — money given to newlyweds to help with their new life together.  

Mansaf consists of large chunks of meat, a yogurt sauce and rice. (Shutterstock)

When it comes to food, there is no question that Jordan’s national dish, mansaf — which consists of large chunks of meat, a yogurt sauce and rice — is a wedding staple.  

At royal weddings, just like Princess Iman’s ceremony in March, as well as celebrations among the general public, the multi-tiered wedding cake is often cut with a large sword that is passed down to the groom from his family. 

Royal fashion: Inside soon-to-be Princess Rajwa Al-Saif’s stylish wardrobe

Royal fashion: Inside soon-to-be Princess Rajwa Al-Saif’s stylish wardrobe
Updated 31 May 2023

Royal fashion: Inside soon-to-be Princess Rajwa Al-Saif’s stylish wardrobe

Royal fashion: Inside soon-to-be Princess Rajwa Al-Saif’s stylish wardrobe

DUBAI: We take a look at Saudi bride Rajwa Al-Saif’s fashion choices since she has been cast in the spotlight after her engagement to Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II.

Al-Saif has made headlines around the world for her style, much like her future mother-in-law Queen Rania. Here, we take a closer look at her wardrobe — from designer duds to high street picks.

August 2022 

On Aug. 17, Al-Saif wore a cream-colored kaftan with gold floral detailing by Lebanese brand Orient 499 at the couple’s engagement. She added a gold belt that seems to have been borrowed from Queen Rania, who was spotted wearing the piece in 2019. 

In a set of engagement photos, Al-Saif showed off the Brennie Lurex Georgette Dress with blouson sleeves by Greek brand Costarellos.  

In another set of images, Al-Saif wore the Ariza Skirt by Canadian designer Sara Roka and blue Valentino pumps. 

October 2022 

For Al-Saif’s first official appointment she visited the Royal Hashemite Court and wore a shirt tucked into an Alexander McQueen midi-skirt, an Alexander McQueen belt and a white Gucci GG Marmont bag. 

December 2022 

Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court shared an image of Al-Saif in a high-collared midi dress by Singaporean fashion designer Andrew Gn.  

March 2023 

On March 7, Al-Saif attended her future sister-in-law Princess Iman bint Abdullah II’s henna party in a pink-and-orange kaftan by Saudi fashion house Art of Heritage, paired with olive green Gianvito Rossi pumps. 

On March 12, she attended Princess Iman’s wedding in the Neolitsea Dress by Roksanda and a pair of Malone Souliers Marla 85 Mules from the brand’s capsule collection with L’Atelier Nawbar. 

April 2023 

Al-Saif was spotted at the Tawasol: Dialogue on Reality and Aspirations forum in Amman wearing a hot pink pantsuit by high street retailer Zara. 

Royal wedding: Jordanian, Saudi public recall the past as they gather to watch history in making

Royal wedding: Jordanian, Saudi public recall the past as they gather to watch history in making
Updated 31 May 2023

Royal wedding: Jordanian, Saudi public recall the past as they gather to watch history in making

Royal wedding: Jordanian, Saudi public recall the past as they gather to watch history in making
  • ‘For Jordanians of my generation who watched King Abdullah II’s marriage ceremony in 1993, a great deal of memories are going to re-emerge,’ Amman-based Basel Quol told Arab News
  • A fan in New York is planning to host a special mansaf dinner for the occasion

AMMAN/ RIYADH: With a public holiday underway in Jordan, residents of the country are gathering to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah and Saudi Arabia’s Rajwa Al-Saif. 

Public screens have been set up throughout the nation and many will also settle down to watch the live broadcast from the comfort of their own homes on Thursday. 

Arab News spoke to members of the public in Jordan and Saudi Arabia to find out what they had planned for the big day ahead. 

Amman-based Basel Quol, a video producer with Xinhua News Agency, said: “Families will gather in a festive atmosphere, mesmerized in front of the TV set, watching the wedding ceremonies and related events. 

“For Jordanians of my generation who watched King Abdullah II’s marriage ceremony in 1993, a great deal of memories are going to re-emerge.

Crowds are expected to gather along the motorcade route today — much as they did for Jordan’s 1993 royal wedding, shown here. (Getty Images) 

“I can never forget watching King Abdullah’s wedding as a child when a Jordanian army paratrooper descended from the sky and perfectly landed before then-Prince Abdullah and handed him the sword to cut the wedding cake. Such an amazing manoeuvre captivated me as a child, and it lived with me as an adult. 

“Now, 30 years later, a lot of people like me are eager to witness the crown prince’s wedding,” Quol added. 

Tourism expert and radio personality Naffa Nazal likened the upcoming nuptials to the March 12 wedding of Jordan’s Princess Iman and financier Jameel Alexander Thermiotis. 

“I and my girlfriends were sitting in front of the television and watched the royal wedding of Princess Iman and Jameel Thermiotis and we all admired the celebrations — from the decoration to the stunning gowns. 

Tourism expert and radio personality Naffa Nazal likened the upcoming nuptials to the March 12 wedding of Jordan’s Princess Iman (pictured). (Supplied)

“Similar to that, most Jordanians and expats in Jordan will be glued to the television to share the magical moment,” she said. 

Nazal, who is part-Jordanian and part-Palestinian Lebanese, noted the union of two cultures that the royal wedding would bring about. 

“The young couple bring energy and excitement to Jordan as Saudi Arabia is opening up to the world and so many have wondered … about Saudi culture, community, and traditions. 

“As a mixed Arab, I am an advocate of mixing cultures, heritage, and ideologies,” she added. 

In Saudi Arabia, Jordanian medical student Abdullah Al-Khasawinah, said he would be watching snippets of the wedding in his free time. 

“I have been looking forward to this since they announced their engagement, it is an extremely exciting time for all Jordanians. I am preparing for my final exams for medical school … but I will pop in and watch bits of it during my breaks.” 

Al-Khasawinah, who has traveled back and forth between both countries for most of his life, added: “Even before this wedding, Jordanians and Saudis shared a lot in common in terms of traditions and customs. 

“I feel like the wedding … entices each culture to learn more about the other.” 

Riyadh-based Jordanian medical student Nour Odeh said: “What’s distinctive about this wedding is that it will not only bring Jordanians together, but Saudis as well. 

“Since I’m a Jordanian living in Saudi Arabia, I am overjoyed for such a union as it will bring two nations closer and will further strengthen the political and social ties that join us.” 

Saudi events coordinator Shahad Samman said: “This wedding will strengthen the bonds between both countries and make people accept that if two people understand each other, nothing can stand in their way, even if you’re royal, love still exists.” 

The royal wedding has also found fans beyond the Middle East. Jacqui Taylor Basker, a professor at the New York Institute of Technology who lived in Amman for 16 years, said she planned to host a special dinner for the occasion. 

“I plan to host a mansaf (Jordan’s national dish) dinner on June 1 and will try to watch the royal wedding on whatever media will show it in the US,” she added. 

Whether it be for political, sentimental, or sartorial reasons, Thursday’s wedding will no doubt attract viewers from around the world. Basker said: “The public always loves a wedding between a beautiful young woman and a handsome prince.”