Every culture has their own wedding traditions, and these traditions seem completely normal to the people who grew up with them. Because of this, wedding traditions from other cultures may seem very strange if you have never seen them practiced. The tradition of removing the garter and throwing the boutique probably seems odd to people from other cultures. However, some people incorporate wedding traditions from other cultures into their weddings. There are certain African wedding traditions that would be very strange to see practiced in the west.
Dowry is a very common wedding tradition in many parts of Africa. A dowry is basically a negotiated gift that the groom gives to the bride’s family. Although the amount of dowry can be determined a number of ways, it is very common for the dowry to connected to the bride’s overall desirability, as far as beauty, education, class, etc. In some cases, especially with arranged marriages, this can get out of hand and monetary value can determine who a girl gets married to.
There are several African ceremonial traditions that would be considered outlandish in many parts of the world. One African tribe has a number of “good luck” practices that would be considered anything but that in most places. As part of the marriage, the bride must gather all of her possessions and set off for the groom’s home on foot, sometimes walking very far. To bless the marriage with good luck, the bride’s father will spit on her before she begins her journey. When she arrives at the groom’s home, the women of his family, once again as a good luck charm, will yell insults at the bride.
Other cultures have other ideas about the wedding night and when the marriage is final. Certain tribes give a lot of help with the actual wedding night experience. For instance, one tribe has an older woman give the bride tips on what to do on her wedding night, and they may even hide in the room in case the bride needs any help. In other parts of Africa, the marriage is not complete until they have two children, and some women enter into an agreement called a “temporary marriage,” in which they receive pay for being a wife, but they cannot inherit money if something happens to their husband.
If you are stressed because of an upcoming wedding, just remember that it could be worse. Unless things go terribly wrong, at your wedding you should not be spit on, insulted, or have your lovemaking skills critiqued on your wedding night. You also will not have to help your husband convince your family to accept whatever kind of dowry he can come up with.