Mahi’s hand was asked in marriage…Shimgilina

Ethiopian wedding customs have existed for a very long time and are unmatched in their depth of tradition, familial love, and historical passages from the imperial era to the present, with only subtle differences in tone. Ethiopian wedding customs are distinctive and diverse. The ceremony involves a wide variety of customs and rituals that are heavily influenced by the geographic location and cultural background of each family. The ceremonies may take place prior to, during, or following the wedding day. The very first step in all wedding processions is shimgelena. It is promoted in this way. An old or young shimagle from the groom’s side of the family will visit the home of the bride on a sunny weekend to ask for their daughter’s hand in marriage. The men sent will extol the groom and assess all he has ever done, down to the smallest things, including how he started speaking at an early age while his peers were merely goo-gooing to how he developed into such an aspirational young man deserving of their daughter. All of his possessions, including vehicles, homes, cash, stock shares, and even bonds, will be listed. Let’s say the groom’s family approves of the man and believes he would be a good match for their daughter. In that instance, they will respond with “We agree to the bond” if they don’t want the marriage or are even slightly unsure about the union, they will request another shimglena session only to end up saying no.

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