Wedding Traditions in Ethiopia

In a country where religions are as old as humanity itself, expectancy of a prevalent and outstanding religion is palpable. Christianity takes the lion’s share of Ethiopia’s plethora of religions. But Christianity notwithstanding, wedding traditions have to be adhered to as they’re deeply ingrained in the society. It’s the hallmark of every occasion prior to a wedding. Thus it’s a foregone conclusion that no one can dare go contrary to them.

5.            According to traditions and cultures of the Ethiopians, incest (sexual intercourse between persons too closely related to marry), is highly forbidden and sacrilegious. Strong Christian beliefs condemn such vices similar case with traditional beliefs which might, at times, invoke a curse. Consequently to make certain that such won’t befall their children, parents investigate as far back as five generations between the families to establish no blood line whatsoever is attached.

4.            It can never be over-emphasized further herein that virginity is highly cherished and valued (more than coffee gifts) among the Ethiopians in regards to traditions. It’s the pride of the entire family when a bride is a virgin at marriage, lest they’re shamed all the way to their graves. She’s expected to be a virgin as it typifies purity, patience and fortitude on the bride’s part: big boon in a Christian marriage all together.

3.            Take a case of the Ethiopian Jewish ceremony on the other hand; it’s customary that on the wedding day, the purity ceremony, widely referred as the kesherah be performed. Kesherah is also a type of cloth that mostly, in all ways, consists of a number of cords color-coded in pristine white for the groom and fiery red for the bride to signify virginity. This cloth is normally placed at the groom’s feet by the Rabbi, all the while pulling it up from the feet to his head; wherefore he ties it around his forehead. Virginity is profoundly valued here.

2.            On this side of the solar system, marriages especially mainly in Tigray and Amhara regions, marriages are more often than not arranged by parents of both the groom and bride. And if that’s not enough, help from a mediator is somewhat sought to assist, or maybe, throw in a great big spanner in the works in regards to detailed and intense negotiations.

1.            But what exactly is the role of a mediator? As an emissary sent to would-be bride’s parents, he or she represents the groom’s side of the family. This is mainly done in a bid to woo and win the would-be brides parents and ask for their daughter’s hand in marriage. At this point, parents to the soon-to-be bride impose conditions which later are to be taken, as a message, to the groom’s parents. It is as and when the conditions are met are the marriage preparations given the green light to proceed thereafter. Engagement date is set and a wedding proposed upon agreement of both sides with the groom’s side footing the wedding expenses.

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