People of the Niger culture, as with other African wedding customs, have their own flavor and flair. Learn about them and how you can incorporate some of these traditions into your own wedding should you choose to do so. It is important to note that people of many different tribes make up the Niger culture and thus their own flavor of African wedding rituals differ accordingly.
Among the nomadic Tuaregs, if a young man is interested in a girl, he will sneak up to her in the tent which she shares with her parents and tickle her ear. If she is not interested she will cover her head and he must leave but if she is interested she will engage him in conversation and eventually give him a pendant as a token of her acceptance.
The families will then discuss dowry/bride-price payments which will include such items as silver bracelets, leather sandals (for all that desert traveling), camels and goats. The bride’s family on the other hand will pay for the ceremony and provide items for her to establish her new home.
Before the wedding ceremony (which will take place during a full moon), a goat is sacrificed to purify the site. The bride is prepared for the wedding by having her face decorated with pale red crosses and pastel-colored dots on her cheeks. Both she and the groom will have their hands and feet decorated with henna; the henna symbolizes purity and fertility.
The preparations take place in the bridal tent where the marriage will be consummated. Inside the bridal tent is a tool known as and ahula and it is used for digging holes to fix the tent. The ahula symbolizes the security of the woman and is believed to also protect the new couple against bad spirits. The ahula is given to the bride by a blacksmith; the blacksmith is also believed to possess occultic powers.
Wedding celebrations carry on outside the bridal tent and these include a camel dance… you just have to see it to fully appreciate it… see the video below. At sundown the groom goes into the bridal tent to join his new wife.
Traditinal African Weddings In The Niger Culture
In another Niger culture, the Perth Bororo people who are nomadic herders invest a lot of time and effort courtship and perfecting the art of seduction.
In this tribe, the groom is the one who dresses and gets made up in order to attract the woman he wants. Through dances, facial expressions and eye-rolling, he does everything he can to draw her attention and emotions to himself.
Once successful, the couple gets engaged; the groom-to-be’s family makes this official by giving presents to the bride’s family which include money and milk. The marriage itself will take place at the end of the rainy season during the worso, during which clan members of the same bloodline to exchange news and arrange marriages.
A bull is sacrificed and the bride is given the tripe and intestines as a symbol of fruitfulness while the groom gets the testicles which represent procreation.
Celebrating Niger Culture In Your Wedding
If you choose to incorporate elements of the Niger culture African wedding customs into your wedding ceremony, here are some simple things you can do:
- The bride can present the groom with a pendant, or other piece of jewelry as a token of her acceptance of him
- The parents of both the bride and the groom can exchange gifts with each other as a token of their acceptance of each other and of each others’ child into their families
- Have a joint bachelor and bachelorette party during which oyu have a session of henna painting done on both the bride and groom-to-be
- In addition to the couple’s first dance, have the groom perform a special dance for the bride as a tribute of his love and devotion