Sunday, June 10, 2012

An African Wedding

A few days ago we were guests at a wedding...our first African wedding.

Many have asked what the differences are between an American and African wedding so we thought we would post some pictures and tell you a little about marriage in Burkina Faso.

First of all, there are definitely different kings of weddings here in Burkina. There are weddings taking place in villages that last several days. Often when a marriage is going to take place a bride price is negotiated. This can be a sum of money, livestock, maybe both. The woman after marriage will move to her husband's village and probably his family courtyard. There are arranged and forced marriages that still take place and multiple wives are not uncommon here.

Then there are more westernized marriages. It's been said that years ago there were missionaries that introduced the fancy white dress and big party  type wedding common in America to Africans and now there are more and more ceremonies like this taking place. Outside od small villages, it seems that there is tremendous pressure to have a huge affair inviting everybody you know. This has posed a problem in a lot of cases. A wedding is very expensive. It's expensive in America, but to the average person in Burkina Faso it seems an impossibility. Therefore many people wait to get married until they can afford to do so, many times after living together and having children.

The wedding that we attended was of the more westernized variety. The groom is a really great guy who works at the orphanage. He is in charge of daily operations and he is truly a gem. The couple are Christians and attend our church.

This is how the day went. We were invited to start the day at the Mayor's office where the official marriage took place. We arrived and waited outside the building because there weren't many seats inside, but last minute a few of us were ushered in and found a seat. It was in a mix of French and Moore so I cannot really tell you details, but the Mayor asked many questions and talked to them (possibly about the seriousness of this commitment).  Papers were signed and stamped and then everyone exited and waited for the bride and groom to emerge. Several photos were taken and at one point a man just wandered up and tried to get in the picture. Then everyone left and proceeded to the actual wedding.

He just wanted to get in the picture.

On the way to the wedding
This ceremony complete with "I do's"...but sounding entirely different in Moore, took place under rented tents in the church's courtyard. It was much like a wedding you are probably used to. There was music and singing and a processional with a flower girl who tossed confetti. Actually both time's she aimed the confetti directly at me. I have no idea why...I was covered!

Bringing out the rings
Sassy flower girl in the middle

 Afterwards there was a feast! All types of African dishes including couscous and rice and sauce and beans and chicken and goat. Also glass bottles of Fanta, Sprite and Coke.

It was a very long day and we were very full and tired. The bride was beautiful and the groom very handsome. It was a good day.

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