Arts & Culture

5 Weird Wedding Traditions in Africa

In some areas, there are marriage customs that are brought to a level that can be considered ‘crazy’.

Beliefs, culture and history have produced very different types of traditions when it comes to marriage.

For example, in Mauritania brides are often forced to eat to be fatter on their wedding day because a fat wife signifies prosperity in a marriage.

The following are some strange traditions in several regions of Africa:

1. A ‘servant’ hides under a bed

In Swahili culture, a bride who marries because of an arranged marriage has a ‘marriage mentor (somo)’ during their first night.

The ‘marriage mentor’ will be under the bed, while the newlyweds will perfect their marriage.

This is done to ensure that the bride is doing their first night well and the ‘mentor’ is the witness.

2. High leg kicks to prove virginity

At the Zulu wedding, at the height of the wedding ceremony, the bride performed a dance that at a certain point, they kicked her legs up high to show her mother that she was still a virgin.

3. Smeared with cow fat

In Namibia, the wedding ceremony is usually followed by a visit to the bride’s father’s house.

There, he was told by the family about his responsibilities as a wife.

After that, he was anointed with butter fat from a cow, symbolizing that he was part of a new family and had been accepted into it.

4. ‘Emergency’ situation

In Shona culture, the wedding night tradition begins even before the wedding.

The bride decides when the wedding ceremony will be and she will dress in white from head to toe to the house of her future husband.

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5. Blood on the sheets

In Tunisia, some old traditions regarding the first night of marriage are still practiced, such as a new pangantin displaying blood on their sheets to prove that the bride remains a virgin until marriage.

In some areas, there are marriage customs that are brought to a level that can be considered ‘crazy’.

Beliefs, culture and history have produced very different types of traditions when it comes to marriage.

For example, in Mauritania pegantians are often forced to eat to get fatter on their wedding day because a fat wife signifies prosperity in a marriage.

The following are some strange traditions in several regions of Africa:

1. A ‘servant’ hides under a bed

In Swahili culture, a bride who marries because of an arranged marriage has a ‘marriage mentor (somo)’ during their first night.

The ‘marriage mentor’ will be under the bed, while the newlyweds will perfect their marriage.

This is done to ensure that the bride is doing their first night well and the ‘mentor’ is the witness.

2. High leg kicks to prove virginity

At the Zulu wedding, at the height of the wedding ceremony, the bride performed a dance that at a certain point, they kicked her legs up high to show her mother that she was still a virgin.

3. Smeared with cow fat

In Namibia, the wedding ceremony is usually followed by a visit to the bride’s father’s house.

There, he was told by the family about his responsibilities as a wife.

After that, he was anointed with butter fat from a cow, symbolizing that he was part of a new family and had been accepted into it.

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4. ‘Emergency’ situation

In Shona culture, the wedding night tradition begins even before the wedding.

The bride decides when the wedding ceremony will be and she will dress in white from head to toe to the house of her future husband.

5. Blood on the sheets

In Tunisia, some old traditions regarding the first night of marriage are still practiced, such as a new pangantin displaying blood on their sheets to prove that the bride remains a virgin until marriage.

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