Most Africans have two kinds of weddings: A traditional marriage and a church blessing. This church blessing is very similar to the popular American weddings here in the US. In this post, I’ll be talking about the traditional wedding and its significance to African culture

  • Difference Between Traditional Weddings and White Weddings

Well, for starters, most African traditional weddings begin with what is known as the door knocking. It is the initial introduction between the groom and the bride’s families. The Yoruba call it “Mo mi imo e,” the Igbos call it “Ikutu Aka n’ulo,” while in Ghana, it is known as Kokooko. Traditional rites are performed at this ceremony, and there is heavy involvement from both families. Traditional attire is worn, and sometimes, each family chooses a color and dress code to wear. The Yoruba’s call it AsoEbi (The family uniform).

This exchange often takes place at the bride’s house and is hosted by the bride’s family.  There is no such equivalence when it comes to the White Wedding. The family’s only involvement is often financial, and sometimes the couple covers the cost themselves. However, the extended family comes to the wedding itself, where it’s like a family reunion.

  • Significance of Traditional Weddings

African traditional weddings have very much significance. A couple is not considered married until they have had this ceremony. It is a form of marriage identity and is a chance to celebrate culture. An African wedding signifies the joining of two families. The traditional wedding significantly represents that and gives both families a chance to get to know one another. Outsiders are also shown that both families are now one. The union means they now look out for each other.

  • How White Weddings Are Influencing Traditional Weddings in Africa

Times are changing, and the world is becoming a global village. Just as the West’s influence is being seen all over Africa, it can also be seen in weddings. One significant disadvantage that most traditional African weddings have is that they can be very costly. Modern couples are finding that it is easier to avoid those costs by sticking to a much simpler white wedding.

We are also seeing African couples, choosing to boycott the whole celebratory wedding process, and only having a simple court wedding. Some couples even avoid all of these and indulge in irregular unions of their own making. These unions though unacceptable back home, serve the purpose for them in the now. Before, it was unheard of for an African couple to cohabit without a traditional wedding ceremony and acceptance by both families.

Another reason for changes to the African traditional marriage systems is migration. When a couple finds themselves making a living far away from home, it may not be easy to honor such traditions. It could even be too expensive to head back home. They make do and find ways to incorporate little of their culture with an acceptable wedding where they find themselves.

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