Wedding in Two Different Cultures Essay Example
Wedding in Two Different Cultures Essay Example

Wedding in Two Different Cultures Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (845 words)
  • Published: February 9, 2022
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To start with, in African cultures, there are different rites of passage ranging from birth, initiation, marriage and death. The rites are accompanied by fervent celebrations alongside paying tributes to ancestors. Well here, we zero graze on marriage as it were. Unmarried women are allowed to freely interact with their male counterparts provided the former maintains their virginity, otherwise the bride’s family will culturally be fined in the event their daughters are found to have broken their virginity before the actual marriage in the groom’s family. When the young ladies and men attain the ‘marriage age’, they are nagged by their parents (elders) to look for partners and may in the worst be ostracized if they fail in the ‘courtship’ fete. The dowry or gifts for that matter may include: cattle, mats, beads, baske


ts etc.

Even then, the process of identifying a partner is different in the various cultures of Africa. Among the Zulus for example, when a Zulu lady is ready for marriage, her daddy will throw a coming-out ceremony to societally introduce her and officially make her availability for marriage noticed by all and sundry. Here, the bride has an upper hand. The bride goes and identifies her groom. Once she has consented, the number of cattle that will be presented to her father is negotiated. On the other hand, the Swahili are a bit different in light of the proposing practice, here the man does the proposing.

The groom family will inform their close relatives and friends to look for a bride for their sons. The search is basically based on religion background, tribe, bride’s residence, and a brief history of the family. Once

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all the details are confirmed the groom’s family will then inform the chosen family. The former family will pay the bride family a visit unannounced. On arrival, the groom family will state the intention of their visit “The bride mother will then on the basis of the description given, call the girl and ask her to spoil the visitors with tea and snacks. The groom family will then leave promising to come back soon but not without leaving a groom photograph behind for the bride to be. Soon, the dowry is negotiated and based on the bride’s family preferences the cattle is presented to the mother weeks before the wedding.

In the event the actual Zulu wedding ceremony happens, the bride is furnished with red and white ocher designs on her limbs. Bags of pebbles are meticulously strapped to her ankles. Meanwhile, she wears a veil constituting of beads and twisted fig twigs; oxtail fringes are fastened to her wrist and knees and a goat's hair garland is worn around her neck. She will also have in her position a small knife, (an assegai), faced upwards to indicate her virginity. After the consummation, the knife will be faced downwards. For a Zulu bride, the marriage would mean detaching herself from the ancestral connection of birth and joining her husband’s ancestral line. This forms the foundation for the ceremonial wedding dance tournament where a ritual rivalry between the two families is displayed. This dance is essentially the climax of every Zulu wedding ceremony and vow exchange ensues soon after. This takes place at the groom’s kraal (village).

Different from the Zulus, during the official ceremony (Nikkah) among the

Swahili, the groom is normally in a mosque; his prospectus wife is usually in the same location but in a different room; this is after the tradition verification of the bride’s virginity at the groom’s family home. The bride is adorned in beautiful kanga that are not without the masterpiece tattooing (hennaing) on her limbs.

Moreover, her hair is relaxed using the cream relaxer died to her choice color, dried and styled by the beautician (somo). When the wedding vows have been taken, the bride comes out in her moment of splendor. She appears in the presence of her female wedding guests, and takes her position on a platform so that she can be admired and people can take photographs with her. Soon, the groom joins her and after elaborate praises and picture opportunities, they leave together as a couple, leaving their visitors to celebrate and help themselves on sumptuous amounts of food.

By and large, the two wedding ceremonies are more or less similar apart from the different celebrations and cultural significance attachment here and there. As it has been observed earlier, marriage is an important rite of passage among many communities in Africa and beyond. Moreover, the female folk is deemed to be the more perfect when it comes to beauty and hygiene and the men are just beacons of the society cultures. In addition, virginity is prioritized before marriage and may place value (worth of the dowry) on the bride. The parent are indispensable players in marriage.


  1. Ferey, C., & Curtis, H. (2010). Zulu. New York: Europa Editions.
  2. Derek N., Thomas. T. (2015). The Swahili: reconstructing the history and language of an African society, 800-1500. University

of Pennsylvania Press.

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