Looking for a Ethiopian Wedding Ceremony. Here is our list of the best places to start your search.
- In Orthodox Christian Ethiopian wedding ceremonies, the couple is usually dressed in flowing white ceremonial attire. The groom has the first word to kick off the ceremony with declarations, then it’s the bride’s turn, and a procession heads to a reception hall where the couple passed through an arch of orange candles.
- The priest then delivers the wedding sermon, after which the congregation sings, usually with the help of the Church gospel choir. Everyone dances and eats their fill of yummy traditional Ethiopian food. Knives and forks usually go out the window in favour of eating with the right hand. Once everyone is so full they can hardly move, it’s time to work it all off with more singing and dancing. Last but not least, young Church deacons sing hymns to the newlyweds and guests wish them well, then everyone drifts off at their leisure to sleep it all off.
Ethiopian Muslim couples often marry at night. The religious part of the ceremony is conducted by an Imam and is generally an intimate gathering, which takes place earlier in the day and is attended by the couple’s close family. Prior to the couple’s entrance, the bridal party sings and dances to traditional music to honour the couple outside the banquet hall. The bridal party enters the reception hall first, followed by the bride, and then the groom and his entourage enter second.
The couple usually sits in throne like chairs facing the guests for the duration of the ceremony. Then it’s time to eat, drink and be most merry. The couple shows their guests how it’s done on the dance floor and everyone gets down and boogies until its time for the speeches. These speeches include complements, advice and best wishes for the newlyweds. Once these are done and dusted its back on to the dance floor until the sun comes up and the guests leave in search of breakfast.
- A different type of Ethiopian marriage ceremony is the traditional wedding ceremony held among the Oromo people. They will prepare for the wedding for a month, and on the wedding day, relatives and other guests of the bride and groom assemble at their respective homes where they are fed well. The groom then dresses in specified attire, after being blessed by his parents, relatives and elders, he goes to the bride’s home along with his friends to pick his bride. On reaching the bride’s home, the groom and his men are met by the bride and her companions at the entrance beating drums. In Ethiopian marriage ceremonies, this is done to prevent the groom from accessing her home until he parts with the dowry. Ethiopian culture is bright and vibrant. Sometimes the couple is made to walk under an arch of orange candles after declaring to God their love and intentions toward one another.
- A wedding is celebrated in the village of Unga Bayno, southern Ethiopia with the Bull Jumping ceremony. A woman taunts and insults a man so that she will receive a beating during a ritual part of the wedding ceremony. The woman wants to be beaten more. The proceedings begin with the women of the tribe dancing, chanting and blowing horns, calling to out to the young man who will jump the bulls. The dancing is followed by a whipping of the women with sticks gathered from the banks of a river bed. The whipping symbolizes the women’s passion and brings good luck to the jumper. The women chase down men of the tribe and plead to be whipped. Arguments often ensue as some of the men become reluctant or tired and the women persist. Men often struggle to take away the whipping sticks but the women only gather more.
- On the wedding day, the bride wears only under clothes and mantle and is kept behind curtain waiting for the arrival of her bridegroom. At mid- day, with his cloak on and wearing white muslin on his head the groom accompanied by his best men and friends rides on a horse back to his parents-in-law where he and the others will be welcomed with some traditional drinks. No food is served however. Then they go to where the bride is clapping, dancing and ululating to the accompaniment of songs and drum beats. All these over one of her family carries her out of the house and mounts her on a horse and accompanied by the best man of the groom (both on a horse) and the bridegroom on another, she rides to her new home well announced. Adapted from :The Ethiopian Herald7 December 1997
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