Africa is a huge continent, as surface and traditions, here living some of the oldest civilizations of the world. She is the home for different religions and cultures, and this extremely colorful diversity reflects on wedding rituals as well.
The main feature of wedding traditions of the African continent is the family. An African wedding is more than everything, the combination of two personalities in one family, or the communion of two families, or even the union of two tribes in one family. The concept of family is the concept that is found in all African cultures and traditions.
In Africa exists more than 1000 of cultural entities, but each individual, each tribe has its own wedding traditions and marriage, many of them having roots in the thousand years old history of the continent. Also here exist many representing religions. A big part of north Africa, has like her main religion the Moslem one, while the south is dominated by citizens with membership such as Christians, Hindu people and even Judaism.
Young girls from Africa are prepared to be wives since they are children. They can learn secret codes and unknown languages, that allows them to communicate with married women without their husbands to understand what they are talking about. Depending of the area where you are, the wedding ceremonies can be extremely elaborated, some of them having a duration of some days. Very often you can find cases when the marriage is officiated with many couples at once.
In Sudan and some areas along the Nile, the man buys his right to marry, paying with sheep or cows. The price of a bride can reach 30-40 cows, a very high price considering that a normal and decent family, does not have such a high number of cows. In Somalia, the man has the right to marry 4 women if he can maintain them, and this isn’t a “never seen before” case. Bright colors, dancing, songs and the rhythm are vitals elements for many African wedding ceremonies. Common for all the ceremonies is the transition from puberty to maturity. In many African traditions the kids are encouraged to marry when they are 13-15 years old, once they have reached physical maturity.
Divorces are rarely encountered in the case of Africa families. The problems of a couple are often debated with both families, and many times they find solutions and the young couple is saved. Many times the whole community helps the couple to resolve their problems in order to prevent their divorce.The marriage in Africa is sanctified, untouchable. Because the theme of this article is African weddings let me tell you something about African wedding dresses as well.
Modern brides don’t take into account old habits, dressing themselves in withe, not in bright colors, like an ordinary European bride. African wedding dresses, in older times were full of bright colors, not white, but now traditions are no longer observed. So, if you live in a city area from Africa, you can dress up for a wedding in what color you want. Unfortunately traditions no longer exist in city areas.11