African Weddings

While weddings are the start of something new, they’re also a meaningful chance to look back and honor your heritage and what brought you and your spouse-to-be to where you are now. Some may take wedding traditions for granted, but the road to becoming newlyweds is one that’s filled with poignant symbolism for many Black and African-American families. From tying the knot to jumping the broom, the traditions incorporated in African-American weddings are often a mix of customs borrowed from Africa. Whether you know your heritage or just want to get in touch with your pan-African roots, as you and your partner are wedding planning, you might consider weaving these traditions into your wedding as you start your new life together. Plus, an industry expert shines a light on how these African-American, African and Black wedding traditions can be woven into your nuptials in a meaningful, joyful and respectful way.

Just like in many parts of Africa where traditional weddings are treated in high regard, Cameroon is no exception. Traditional wedding ceremonies are held in preparation for the big day; a colorful church wedding.

Bride Price: This is the first traditional event that takes place as soon as a bride and groom announce their courtship. In the Cameroonian culture, the groom is asked to give goats, certain fabric, farming tools, money, firewood and palm oil, It is considered a sign of respect to the elders.

Cola Nut: Cola nut is given by the groom’s family together with alcohol. Cola nut, a bitter fruit blends well with alcohol which the bride’s family considers it a sign of good relations and respect.

Salt: In the Cameroonian tradition, salt is a must-have during traditional weddings for the groom’s family who present it to the bride’s family as a model of friendship and loyalty. Elders say it represents abundance for the soon-to-be-married couple and long-lasting marriage.

Bride identification and drink sharing: Several women are lined up dressed the same way and their whole bodies covered. The groom is tasked with identifying his bride, which earns him a fine if he picks the wrong woman. Once he identifies her, they share a drink in public.

Water blessing: As soon as elders escort the bride to her groom’s house, the couple stands at the entrance of their door where water is sprinkled on their feet as a sign of blessing their union.

Cleansing the bride: After their traditional wedding ceremony, the bride returns to her parents home for cleansing which is usually done by covering her with camwood. She is then officially handed over to her husband.


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