African culture is quite diverse. This means when discussing how unique it is, one has to apologize for not including all points related to the topic. But at least one has been kind enough to give you some, hasn’t one? Here, take a look at some of them according to the stages of marriage.
- Different cultures have different preferences for beautification raw-materials. The Moroccans for example, bathe the bride in milk before, and include paint henna on her skin. The Swahili people of Kenya bathe their brides in sandalwood, and like many African cultures, have a Somo (a female elder – who can sometimes be a paternal aunt in some tribes) brief the bride on how to please her husband and be a successful wife. Quite a number of cultures have this – a briefing of what marriage life involves – provided to their brides.
The Introduction Ceremony:
- This one is done by almost, if not every African couple no
matter the tribe. The average modern African bride has three events on her wedding: the traditional wedding (each tribe has a name for it: the Ghanaians call it something that can be translated to “the knocking”), the religious/civil wedding – which really takes no more than three hours, depending on religion and the “white wedding”.
The dowry/ Bride Price:
- Though not so common anymore, there are still some tribes that observe this custom. The bride price these days consists of anything, from the latest tech to cattle. The Zulu of South Africa call this Lobola; the Igbo of Nigeria call it Ikpo Onu Aku Nwayi while the Tanzanians refer to it as Mahara. In most, if not all African cultures, the groom is the one who pays it (okay, him and his family, but you get the point). It is usually handed over (some of it, anyway) at the introduction ceremony, with relatives of the groom carrying it to the bride’s family. For many tribes in Uganda, the sister of the groom leads the entourage and has to hand over a special gift to the bride as a show of acceptance.
Celebrations after the Wedding:
- Well. Don’t look so surprised! We love parties, so we use any excuse we can to throw them. For example, some tribes in Kenya have what they call the Kupamba, which happens soon after the wedding, and is basically a way for the bride to show off. It is a pretty eagerly-awaited affair as it is a female-only affair, and they wear their best attire, heads-to-toe, as it is believed that a loving husband lavishes his wife. Prospective grooms, Kenyan or not, keep this in mind!
There are other interesting parts of African weddings that I am unable to mention, though I will give a few last tips. If you are having an Egyptian-themed wedding, do not be surprised or offended with all those pinches you will receive on your wedding day – it is part of the culture – and anyway, think of what I am going to tell you next as consolation: wanted to add the literal tying of hands to your wedding? Well fear not! It is part of the Egyptian culture!
For more African Wedding insights visit – http://zimbabwewedding.org