Author: Blogger, Etinosa Ogbevoen
To be Nigerian is to imagine having an over the top and beautiful wedding that is filled with tradition and glamour. Depending on where you are celebrating your wedding. Either in the United States or in the home country of Nigeria things can look a bit different but still have the same essence and majesty. It’s important to note that in Nigeria there are over 300 tribes and each of them have their own specific traditions that is unique to their tribe.
When it comes to being Nigerian respect and formalities go a long way. When two people meet and fall in love, it is up to the man to travel to his future wife’s parent’s house to ask for her hand in marriage. This meeting is crucial to the in order to get a blessing for their union. Many parents will ask questions about the background of the suitor and how he plans on taking care of their daughter. Once the two are engaged, tradition kicks in.
An introduction is set up at the home of the bride. The man brings his representatives of his immediate and extended family which usually consists of elders, such as aunts, uncles, grandparent and older siblings and cousins. The introduction is an event when both the families are able to meet and talk about the future nuptials. In the Nigerian culture people believe that you are not only marrying a person but that person’s family. The two families are able to get acquainted with each other in an informal setting but many times each family shows up looking their best to make a good first impression. Prayers are said over the union by the bride’s father and the kola nut broken and passed around for people to eat. The kola Nut is regarded as a sacred nut used to during traditional occasions.
Once the introduction is over then the real fun starts. Nigeria is known for their love of fashion. In order to help families pay for weddings each family will choose a material for a variety of people. The families of the bride and groom will choose a color to differentiate the two families. It usually goes with the colors that the bride and groom have chosen. There is also the asoebi which is a separate material that is sold to extended family and friends that is worn so that they can show solidarity towards the couple and their wedding. (If you know a lot of people getting married then you might be buying a lot of asoebi)
Many Nigerians have adopted the western world’s traditional wedding and incorporate that into their special day. Many Nigerians refer to that wedding as the “White” wedding because the bride is wearing a white dress. It is very similar and identical to the weddings that occur in the United States. This means that Nigerian wedding consist of two ceremonies, the “White” Wedding and the traditional wedding. Most people celebrate on two separate days.
During the traditional wedding, there can be some differences as far as the flow of weddings depending on the tribe. I will speak on the Benin tribe since that is where my family from. The families enter the room separately with lots of music and dancing and then are seated on opposite sides. Before the bride comes in there are 3 decoys for the groom to choose from. It is a test to know if he truly knows his bride. There are many tribes that have a bride price for the bride. For us we do not participate in a Bride price or dowry. A bride price or dowry is an amount of money that the groom pays the bride’s father in exchange for her hand in marriage. Many people see it as problematic because in the olden days women were seen as property that could be bought and sold. Another form of the dowry that some tribes ascribe to is bringing suitcases of material. Like mentioned before fashion is important to the Nigerian culture. For the Benin tribe the groom’s family offers drinks as a token of appreciation for the bride’s family giving them the blessing of her hand in marriage. During the ceremony the two families sit on two separate sides and a moderator for each family conducts the ceremony by introducing each member of the families, reciting traditional sayings and blessing the union. Once they are done the bride will leave her family and join her husband and her new family. The party begins and it is a night of love laughter and celebration.
The reception is undeniably the best and most memorable part of an Ethiopian Wedding. Great food is served buffet-style, including staple dishes such as Injera (Ethiopian spongy bread), Doro wot (a spicy stew made with chicken and eggs), and Kitfo (raw minced beef mixed with butter and spices). After dinner, the couple accompanied by their friends and family will dance to modern and traditional music followed by the cake cutting ceremony and champagne toast. To end the night, elders are seated in a row as the couple and their wedding party bow down to kiss the elders’ knees (which is a sign of respect in Ethiopian Tradition).
Melse is the post-wedding celebration and takes place a day after the wedding. During the Melse, traditional clothing is worn; Habesha Kemis for women and Habesha Libs for men. The Bride and her party will spend several hours getting their hair braided and getting bridal henna tattoo accompanied by a LOT of gold to accessories.
The Melse is an intimate celebration for close family and friends. Again, there will be traditional Ethiopian food(injera) served accompanied with Tej, which is a traditional beverage made with fermented honey. The bride and groom will conduct a bread cutting ceremony which represents their unity as newly-weds, and family and friends enjoy dancing and celebrate the newly married couple while having Buna(coffee) during a traditional coffee ceremony.
As if two days weren’t enough, The Melse is followed by a third event called Kelekel, which takes place on the third day of the wedding. This tradition is dedicated mostly to extended family who could not attend the main ceremony. This also gives everyone a chance to come together one last time before they bid the newlyweds farewell.
- Ethiopian culture is very rich. If you enjoyed this post, comment below and tell us what country you would like to explore next.
Do the disagreements and arguments seem to be mounting as your wedding day draws near? There’s more at work than just wedding stress. The mounting pressure of your wedding could be causing sleep loss. Whenever you get less than seven hours of sleep, you enter a state of sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep may not start your arguments but it adds fuel to the fire so that small disagreements turn into arguments you regret. Thankfully, you can put a damper on fights by making sleep a priority.
The Emotional Chaos of Sleep Deprivation
The effects of sleep loss affect many of the body’s systems, but, when it comes to your emotions, it’s the brain you need to worry about.
Most of your emotional processing takes place in a part of the brain called the amygdala. Though small, it has a big impact on your behavior. When you don’t get enough sleep, the amygdala goes into overdrive, especially in response to negative thoughts and events. As activity goes up in this part of the brain, emotional outbursts full of anger, anxiety, and/or sadness are common.
Unfortunately, the amygdala isn’t the only part of the brain that changes with sleep deprivation. The prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that’s responsible for executive functions like decision-making, logic, and reason, slows and reduces its influence over your emotions. Sleep deprivation creates the perfect storm for arguments with high emotions and low logic.
Mounting stress and continued sleep deprivation feed into one another until you hardly feel like yourself. While your first step is recognizing the stress/sleep deprivation cycle, the second is to put sleep near the top of your priority list and get reason back in control.
Sleep Brings Balance
Sleep is the body’s healer, recharger, and regulator. The timing and duration of your sleep cycle are highly responsive to your personal habits. That gives you the power get better sleep with sleep supportive conditions and behavior. In the process, you’ll gain the ability to diffuse disagreements between you and your partner.
Prep the Bedroom
For deep, restful sleep to take place, the bedroom has to be a sacred sleep space. Gym equipment and your home office can send your brain the wrong message so they belong in another part of the house.
Is your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet? If not you may need to change your window coverings or get a white noise machine to block out noisy neighbors. Eliminate as many distractions and interruptions as possible. And, of course, make sure the bed is inviting with comfortable bedding and a mattress that supports your weight and sleep style.
Keep a Sleep Schedule
Your body controls your sleep cycle using predictable 24-hour cycles. These are called circadian rhythms. When you keep a consistent bedtime, you support and strengthen your body’s response to these rhythms. Plus, your brain will automatically time the release of sleep hormones to follow your preferred schedule as long as you consistently go to bed at the same time.
Make (Non-Wedding Related) Time for Your Partner
Your relationship with your partner always takes precedence over wedding plans. As you’re working on better sleep and moving closer to your wedding day, be sure to make time for your partner. Spend at least some of that time
talking about things other than the wedding. Enjoy a romantic dinner or veg out on the couch watching your favorite movie while eating popcorn. Quality time together will remind you why you’re getting married in the first place.
Disagreements happen, but at least when you’re getting enough sleep, you know your emotions aren’t running away with you. Rely on your wedding planner and turn to your partner so the two of you can grow closer as you prepare for a new life together.
Contribuutor: Sarah Johnson
Congratulations! He popped the question. You said yes. You’ve posted the infamous ring pic on Instagram (not before calling mom and dad, I hope).
Now you’re ready to start wedding planning and selecting your bridal party is a pretty big decision that you will have to make. However, it’s not one that needs to be made right away. Take some time and figure out who’s going to keep you sane when everyone has an opinion to share? Who’s going to be you’re A-Team?
Here are a couple tips to consider when choosing the members of your bridal party.
- Include family & friends that support your relationship
- Choose someone that genuinely wants the best for both of you and someone who understands marriage. Choose a friend that you can talk to when things get rough and you need a reminder of the vows you took.
- Be up front about your expectations
- There’s more to being in a wedding than just throwing on a pretty dress or a snazzy tux. Let you’re A-Team know just how much money and time needs to be invested in your wedding and the festivities leading up to the big day.
The men and women that will be standing by your side on your wedding day have a lot of responsibilities on their hands and you definitely need someone who’s going to stick it out and be there through the good, bad, and ugly.
We know how much you love our Tuesday Tips and Fun Fact Friday so we’re just gonna get down to the really nitty gritty. Each week we’ll dig a little deeper and give you the full story behind these tips.
Make sure you join us next week for more insight on the roles and responsibilities for each member of the bridal party.
Elizabeth in Martinez, California wrote in:
What is the deadline for RSVP’s?
The rule of thumb is typically 3 weeks which gives you enough time to follow up with those last-minute guests that are dilly dallying around. However, I always suggest that my brides request theirs be returned 4 weeks in advance. Since the final head count is typically due 2 weeks prior to the wedding, you can use those extra weeks to have your planner follow up with guests who still haven’t dropped their RSVP’s in the mail.
Xoxoxoxoxo Happy Planning,