What is the Hora at a Jewish Wedding?

stef debs

What is the Hora at a Jewish Wedding? The answer is very simple – it is the most fun, lively, infectious part of the Jewish Wedding party and really gets the celebrations started.  So stand up straight, get your dancing shoes on & get involved.  The Hora is a type of Israeli folk dance and is performed in a large group, danced mostly in a circle which is very energetic and performed to popular Israeli songs.  The Hora is also known as “Israeli Dancing” or “Jewish Dancing” and happens usually at the beginning of the party immediately after the newlyweds enter the room.

The Hora at a Jewish Wedding is so lively, everyone forgets about their hair and make-up and gets very sweaty!  During the Hora, you will see the Bride and Groom lifted on chairs and they will hold a handkerchief or piece of cloth to signify their union.   This tradition is done to show off the Bride and Groom, the King & the Queen of the celebration and to show what a joyful occasion this is.  There is another relevance of this tradition, during an ultra-Orthodox wedding, the Bride & Groom dance separately all evening so it is a way they can see each other over the mechitza (a partition to separate men & women). This part can be quite scary, so make sure there are strong people holding the chairs up!

The Hora at a Jewish Wedding can either be performed live by a wedding and klezmer band or the songs can be played by the DJ. Click here to see the Jewish Wedding Bands that can do this.  The Hora can last anything from 5 minutes to 20 minutes and one thing is for sure, when it is over, you will need some water and a rest!

There are many well-known traditional songs that are played during the Hora at a Jewish Wedding, including Hava Nagila, Siman Tov U Mazeltov & Mashiach that definitely get everyone in the party mood.  For a list of Hora songs, click here.

Often the Bride and Groom separate initially to dance all women together and all men together, coming together for the chair lift followed by some mixed dancing, during the Hora.  For the Bride, many circles are formed around her as all the guests whoop and dance with joy.  She may take this moment to dance in a smaller circle with her family and best friends.  For the Groom, well, sometimes they go a bit crazy!  Cossack dancing, jumping up and down in a circle on mass and even having friends lying on the floor for the groom to jump over, are all part of the festivities that happen during the Hora!

In summary, the Hora at a Jewish Wedding is simply fabulous! If you have never participated or seen it before, you will be in for a treat.  It is special, symbolic and certainly memorable.  Enjoy!

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