Ethiopian Traditional Wedding

By on October 29, 2012

Ethiopian Traditional Wedding
Ethiopian Traditional Wedding – Traditionally marriages in Ethiopia were arranged. Upon finding a suitable match for their children, parents would investigate five generations of their families to ensure there was no common blood line. Although arranged marriages are less common today, a custom which is still valued as highly important is the bride’s virginity. It is said that an Ethiopian families pride depends on a bride remaining pure until the night of her wedding.

Ethiopian traditional weddings involve dancing, music and a lot of food. Once engaged, a couple will speak to elders of their family, who will decide where their wedding will take place. Ethiopian wedding traditions vary depending on the religion of the bride and groom. Many Ethiopians are Orthodox Christians, but there are also Jewish Ethiopians who have their own unique Ethiopian wedding traditions.

Orthodox Christian Ethiopian wedding traditions

The Ethiopian traditional wedding dress for Orthodox Christians is white, like those worn by brides in the UK and US. Men usually dress in either tuxedos or suits. Some may choose to wear white to match their bride. Couples are married in Orthodox churches, where they may pass through an arch of orange candles during traditional ceremonies.

Jewish Ethiopian wedding traditions

The Kesherah is a purity ceremony which is performed at Jewish weddings in Ethiopia. There are two cords which are painted white, to represent the purity of the groom and red to represent the bride’s virginity. The cords are placed at the groom’s feet and are stretched all the way up to his head where they are tied.

Oromo Weddings

The Oromo people incorporate various different Ethiopian wedding traditions into their ceremonies. Oromo weddings usually take a month to prepare for and involve the whole family. Guests gather at the bride’s house to celebrate the wedding and offer their best wishes to the couple. The groom and his party must not enter the bride’s house until a dowry has been paid to the bride’s parents. Celebrations involve traditional Ethiopian wedding dances, blessings and the exchanging of gifts.

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