Happy wedding day….couples eating cake with enjera

An Ethiopian wedding is a family affair, and the celebrations last well into the wedding day and sometimes even well into the wedding year. The ceremonies, customs, and traditions discussed below will differ depending on the ethnic group because Ethiopia is made up of numerous diverse ethnic groups. Examples of these various traditions include: Ga’at/Genfo event in the Tigre culture, where women from the bride’s family assemble to make ga’at/genfo to celebrate the forthcoming wedding, Aruz Mawalal is a Harari tradition where the bride wears her axlass and visits homes while singing traditional songs to invite family and friends to the wedding. Ensosela is a Guragae tradition where the bride and her female family members and friends gather for a beautifying ceremony. Traditionally, the families of the bride and groom would arrange marriages in Ethiopia. Even though the bride and groom choose their spouse today, the families are still heavily involved. Shimagelay: Before the groom asks his future wife to marry him, he must send “shimagelay,” or elder members of his family, to the bride’s parents’ house to make the request. After the groom’s side has “sold” them on how the groom will support the bride and their future family, what kind of caregiver he will be, the kind of life the bride will lead with him, and other qualities deemed necessary for a husband, the bride’s family will at first be reluctant. Following the approval of the marriage, the two families will share a meal to commemorate their union. Tilosh: The night before the wedding is typically when the tilosh takes place. A suitcase filled with gifts for the bride is brought to the bride’s parents’ house by a few members of the groom’s family, his groomsmen, and best man acting as messengers for the groom. The bridesmaids, family members, and parents welcome them when they arrive. The bride is not here for this occasion.

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