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.