Thanks to Jessica, who gave me the idea for this post, here’s a brief outline of how countryside weddings go in our area. Just like in the USA, every wedding has it’s own flavor and there is not one exact way to do a wedding, the same for the weddings we attend. Also, this is our understanding of how they do weddings, but we are no cultural experts and are continually learning new things.
Our family was invited to this wedding, the girls and I couldn’t manage another day away from school as we have had abundant “Easter” days. Jon was asked to take pictures, it’s fun for him and an easy way to give a wedding present to the bride and groom.
Jon went to the groom’s house around 9:00 am where the groom, his family and his attendants meet. Neighbors borrow from each other for this occasion.
Here are a few of the wedding party, eating. On wedding day, the best clothes come out, and from our limited observation, the more wealthy the family, the more Western the wedding clothes will be. In this picture, notice the two men holding their hands out to each other. They are giving each other a “gorsha” which is when you put a prepared bite into someone’s mouth as a sign of favor.
At the first house a meal is served. Here is some of the groom’s family, they have been working, preparing food since the night before (they work through the night).
This woman is grinding coffee she has just washed and roasted.
The groom with family. He is very happy, it’s a day for everyone to celebrate.
As they waited for awhile at this house, a second meal was served. On the table you can see in the tall cup a local brew and in the small cup, a hot cup of coffee.
The wedding has a general structure but then plays out by the group discussing minute to minute decisions. The woman with the drum is the sister-in-law to the groom.
As the groom and his attendants get ready to move to the bride’s house, there is dancing and celebration.
Then, the groom and his attendants, walk to the bride’s parent’s house. There is much dancing, shouting and celebrating along the way.
In this situation, the bride lived far away, so they hiked to the main road, got in a van and then hiked to the bride’s house. Historically, women in this area were taken by “abduction” to be the bride. This particular area is known for mimicking a fighting protest to their woman being taken away. The men told Jon that sometimes the fight turns real and if something seems off, to get out of there.
As the men approach the bride’s house, they are met by the bride’s family.
The party walks into the house, notice at this point, the groom gets serious. It is his part to play in the day. All dowry has already been negotiated and given, this is just ceremony day.
Everyone is invited in for another meal, the bride is still not present.
At this house, Jon was delighted to see veggies on the injera. The green is like swiss chard, red is red beets and the other stew is potatoes, carrots and chilis.
Here comes the bride! She is actually happy but the whole day, it is her job to not smile and look serious. This is out of respect for her parent’s household, to show she is grieved to be leaving them (and I suspect also is in tradition from the past culture of abduction, but I need to ask for more clarification). She is very beautiful but looks so sad.
With everyone else, there is dancing and singing.
Inside the house, rings are exchanged and a priests speaks blessing over them.
More food, more homemade alcohol.
The bride stays so serious.
The party is ready to move on! At this point, they go back to the groom’s parents or if they have a ride, to a lake for pictures.
Here is the doorway during the part with the priests ad the rings.
The group has gotten bigger as they walk, so somber.
Walking away from the bride’s house.
People along the paths join the procession. It’s all done with much joy, singing and dancing.
At the groom’s house, they said they expected to feed between 300-500 people.
Jon got home after dark, he had been served over three meals and countless rounds of coffee.