Africa is a continent very rich in cultural heritage. Wedding ceremonies are a major part of any culture and such are taken very seriously among Africans. Everyone loves weddings especially in Africa. Let’s take a look at the top 10 rich wedding cultures in Africa.


Swahili Wedding (local design on bride’s hand). Source:

Swahili weddings are always colorful. There is usually a separation between both sexes during the wedding. A night before the wedding the bride attends a party known as Henna. The groom on the other hand attends the Kirumbizi which is a fighting dance accompanied by music from flutes and drums. Following this is the Nikah where the couple exchange vows and then a luncheon known as Walima. The groom then picks up his wife in a dance and they head to their new home.


Zulu wedding. Source:

Usually known as the Umabo, the Zulu traditional wedding holds after the white wedding. Prior the white wedding is the lobola or dowry ceremony. At this ceremony gifts are brought for the mother of the bride and her close family. There is also the Umbondo or Izibizo where the bride takes several groceries for her new family. Umabo the bride changes outfits a minimum of three times to display her beauty to her in laws.


Igbo wedding. Source:

The Igbo traditional wedding known locally as Igba Nkwu is indeed a lavish ceremony. After an agreement on the bride price by the Umunna or extended family the bride price known as Ime-Ego is paid. The couple are then sprayed bank notes on their foreheads to wish them prosperity.


Ndebele couple. Source:

Before the wedding the mother of the groom makes an apron with goat skin. The material is decorated with beads and worn by all married women who grace the occasion. It is a sign of a mother being encompassed by her children. The groom performs a ceremony during the wedding to show his appreciation for all she has done during their courtship. This ceremony is accompanied by dances, recitals and prayers.


Maasai Couple. Source:

The wedding process can be quite tedious but it is very interesting among the Maasai. The groom, still referred to as an admirer is required to purchase a chain as a gift for his bride. He is also required to buy drinks for his in laws. On the parents approval he will be required to buy 3 cows and 2 sheep one of which is slaughtered and the fat used in decorating the bridal gown.


Amhara Wedding. Source:

The Amhara people of Ethiopia start a wedding ceremony by having both families negotiating the wedding terms. Once an agreement is reached a ceremony is organized to seal the contract. The wedding is usually held in a well-decorated hall with guests being served traditional food and drinks. The native Habeesha Cloth is the regular attire for this occasion. Once the ceremony is done the groom takes his bride home and the wedding continues at his house.


Moroccan Wedding. Source:

This includes an array of ceremonies that could last up to 3 days. Gifts are exchanged by both families once an agreement is reached by witnesses and the Adoul. The bride goes to a traditional sauna known as Hamam 2 days before the wedding. This is regarded as a purification process. The bride and her friends then receive symbolic motifs during the Hennaya ceremony. The motifs are seen as lucky charms. The wedding day itself is characterized by white kaftans, food, drink, dance, recitation of quaranic verses, etc.


Dancing during Nuer wedding. Source:

It is required of the groom to pay between 20 and 40 cows. Though several celebrations take place the marriage is not consummated till the wife has given birth to 2 children. If she has just a child and the husband wants a divorce he has a choice between the custody of the child and his cows.


Himba bride surrounded by relatives on her wedding day. Source:

The Himba people are from the Kunene region of Namibia. The bride is kidnapped before her big day to work on her wardrobe. She is dressed in an okori which is a leather headdress. Both her skin and hair are rubbed with butterfat and herbs before she is adorned with expensive jewelry. The groom’s family once again smears the bride with butterfat after the wedding as a sign of acceptance.


Bemba Traditional Wedding. Source:

The bride goes through a counseling session known as the Bana Chimbusa just before the wedding. This is followed by a ceremony where different dishes are taken to the groom’s family to show how well he will feed when he marries their daughter. The official wedding known as the Ama Shikulo is preceded by several nights of dancing and merrymaking.


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