African marriage Essay

This essay has a total of 691 words and 4 pages.


African marriage




African Marriage Rites

The African marriage rites are very important to the African peoples. The marriage rites
are followed strictly and are very traditional. Marriage is the beginning of new life and
when two people become one.

In African Traditional Religion, marriage is a cherished fecundity and is intended for
procreation. Marriage involves not only interpersonal relations but also intercommunity
relations. The survival of kinship in the social structure depends on marriage; marriage
always establishes very strong bonds between the individuals belonging to different
families and clans, especially when children are born.

When a community seeks out a wife or a son-in-law, they look for one that lives up to
their expectations. A person with good moral qualities, industrious in physical work,
respectful towards their elders and a good reputation. Physical attractiveness doesn’t
matter as much as the community’s expectations. Fertility is the central requirement in
marriage. There would be less of a chance of proposal if a woman or a woman in her family
were suspected of being barren. Other things that might slow down the wedding process
includes witchcraft, impotence, sterility, bad reputation…etc. The purpose of marriage is
the social reproduction of the kinship group.

The entire community, including living and deceased, are involved in the marriage process.
There are certain rituals and taboos that must be observed in regard to marriage.
Respect of in-laws and the observance of distance between in-laws, just to name a few.
Prayers and sacrifices are offered to the ancestors on behalf of the groom and the bride.
Fertility and healthy deliveries are prayed for. A marriage ceremony takes place over a
certain period of time. Marriage in African Traditional Religions isn’t simply saying a
few words. Marriage is a step by step process taken on by the entire community. Several
ceremonies and rituals are preformed over time and at different locations.

The stages of marriage differ from community to community but there are basic stages.
First, friendship exists between the groom and the bride. Second, courtship is done but in
some communities isn’t needed. Lastly, bride wealth is giving to the bride’s family. It
is a means of providing privileges to children at their mother’s home of origin. Without
a bride wealth, no man can claim any child as his. Dowry is also given to help the
families of the couple getting married because the families loose both of their
contributions to their families.

There are different forms of marriage. Monogamy is a form of marriage, which means a man
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