Marriage Customs That Will Baffle You in Africa


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In different parts of the world, we witness marriage customs that range from bizarre, crazy, beautiful, extraordinary, and other words. However, these marriage experiences are beautiful, no matter how we view them. 

READ ALSO: ‘I was insulted on social media for marrying at an old age’- Nollywood Star Rita Dominic Opens Up About Marriage

 Africa is no different when it comes to marriage customs. Some tribes leave us breathless with their marriage customs, while others keep us on our toes, because of the experience. In some parts of Africa, we called their marriage customs crazy not necessarily because they are crazy in the real sense of the world but mainly because they are unusual.

The continent is richly blessed in histories, cultures, and beliefs. These three factors have contributed to what we experienced in our different marriage customs. Take, for instance, in Mauritania pegantians are made to eat to get fatter before their wedding day.

This tribe believes that a fat wife signifies prosperity in her marriage. We have listed some of the crazy marriage customs in different parts of Africa. Here are some of these crazy marriage customs:

A ‘servant’ hides under a bed

Are you wondering what a servant will be under the bed doing in a newly married couple’s room? In Swahili culture, the bride who got married because of an arranged marriage has the privilege of having a ‘marriage mentor (somo),’ who stays under the bed during their first night.

This marriage mentor stays under the bed to ensure that what the bride learned was perfected on their first night. 

High leg kicks to prove virginity

Women can kick their legs high in the Zulu kingdom, especially the brides who dance the height of their wedding ceremony. At a certain point during the dance, the brides have to kick their legs up high.

They do this act to prove to their mothers that they are still virgins.

Smeared with cow fat

Welcome to Namibia where a crazy marriage custom is experienced. After the wedding ceremony, the couple heads to the bride’s family house. 

The groom is told of the responsibilities of his wife. The next thing that happens is the craziness that many people will run from. The groom is smeared with butter fat from a cow that symbolizes that he has become a part of the new family. This custom is a form of acceptance into a family.

 ‘Emergency’ situation

Couples take time to plan their marriage, but not in the Shona culture. In this part of Africa, the wedding night tradition is kicked off before the couple gets married. The bride decides the day the wedding ceremony will hold. She will have to dress in white from head to toe and go to the house of the groom.

Blood on the sheets

We take you to Tunisia, where we have another type of crazy marriage custom. Virginity is taken as a virtue in some places. To prove that the bride is a virgin, she has to prove it with the blood on the sheets during the first night of the couple together.

Are you aware of any other marriage custom of Africa. You can share with us in the comment section.


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