Friday, September 27, 2019

African Marriage Rituals

In the African culture, marriage is not considered just a union between two individuals but between two entire families. Families are very much a part of the marriage and not just the wedding. From courtship to child-rearing, it truly does take and involve "a village". Below are just some of the more common African marriage rituals.
* Also known as lobola or bride price, this is usually a form of payment given by the groom-to-be's family to the family of the bride in exchange for her hand in marriage
* in addition to money, there can also be other gifts given which include jewelry, food items, clothing, fabric to sew clothing, livestock such as cattle, goats, chickens, etc.
* In some cultures, a girl's dowry will be determined by how much her parents have invested in her. For example, the cost of educating her not just academically, but also for any other training in special skills she has received
* Among some tribes, if the marriage does not work out the groom is entitled to get back his dowry if his wife returns to her family of origin
Fattening Rooms
* In some tribes, particularly in Western Africa, women are sent to fattening rooms prior to their wedding day
* The goal is to get them plump and healthy and ready for child-bearing; some of the assumptions here is that wider hips make for easier child-bearing and also, the plumper the girl is, the healthier she is
* In these rooms the women are pampered and catered to by older women and younger girls; the time spent in a fattening room can last from the time of the formal engagement up until right before the wedding
Tying The Knot
* In many countries across the continent, the knot is tied, literally
* By wrapping a leather strip or a piece of twine, cord or vine around the couples' wrists, waists, or hands
* The knot symbolizes the binding of the two in matrimony
Cowrie Shells
* Once used as a form of legal tender/monetary currency, cowrie shells now play a central part in weddings among many African tribes
* They are believed to promote fertility and are used to make earrings, necklaces, decorative clothing and bridal headpieces.

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