7 Mystifying Marriage Rites in Africa
While it is expected that a couple falls in love and court for a while before talking about marriage, it isn’t always so in some tribes across Africa. From kidnapping a woman to selling a bride, here are seven marriage rites that will have you gasping in surprise.
Bride Kidnapping in the Lakuta Tribe of Sudan
The men of the Lakuta Tribe take their wives by force…literally. In order to indicate his interest in marrying a woman, a Lakuta man kidnaps her after which the elderly members of his family go to her father to seek his consent. If her father agrees to the union, he beats up the man as a sign of his acceptance. But if he doesn’t agree, the man can decide to return the woman or go ahead and forcefully marry her.
The Bridal Fair of the Berbers of Morocco
Once a year, a bride’s fair is held where all single women i.e. virgins that have never been married, widows and divorcees all come out to seek their future mates. Widows and divorcees are permitted to start their new married lives as soon as they meet a man that catches their fancy. However, the virgins must be courted for a year before they can conclude the marriage rites.
The Dance Competition of the Wodaabe Nomads of chad
These are the nomads of the Sahel Savannah. For seven days, the men take part in a dance competition known as Geerewol. This competition is judged by the women who pick out the men they find most pleasing as their husbands. If however a woman finds two men pleasing and they happen to be cousins, then she can have them both. This ritual encourages sharing and generosity among male cousins.
The Kookoo ko Ceremony of Ghana
The groom along with his delegation goes to the bride’s home and knocks on the door. When the knock is accepted, gifts like money and spirit for libation are offered to the bride-to-be’s family. He then announces his intentions with both families discussing the prospects of becoming one. Blessings are given and terms finalized. Then the bride is called in and asked three times by her father if she agrees to the proposal. Once she says yes, the celebrations begin.
The Reed Dance of the Swazi
Over a seven day period, young, unmarried girls between the ages of 10 and 18 years come out to parade themselves before the king. When the girls are dancing, the king will drop his shield in front of those that catch his eyes. Later in the year, the ones who will become his wives will be chosen and made official. It is believed that it is part of the king’s duties to take on and support as many wives as possible. This also includes the children, as many as the wives have for him.
Bride sale of the Kenyan Pokot Tribe
Young girls are usually sold for a dowry of livestock into arranged marriage. It could be for goats, cows or camels. This is part of a tradition which marks their passing into womanhood. After spending a month in isolation, the young girls who are unaware they have been sold are being hauled away by their husbands before the ceremony will take place.
Fattening for marriage, Mauritania
Mauritanian men view a large woman as more attractive. For this reason, girls are been force fed by their mothers with enormous quantities of food and drinks from the age of five to nineteen. It is also believed that being fat is a sign of wealth and the girl would turn out to be a good wife. This practice is mainly common in the rural areas and has left many of them with heart diseases and diabetes.