Wedding traditions are not standard around the world, rather they vary enormously. Some wedding traditions appear unusual to different people of various backgrounds while they are standard to others.
In Ethiopia, just like Toronto, the parents of the groom and bride often organize Christian marriages and they involve much negotiation. There are many such talks where parties do not come to a consensus regarding various issues. By the time the marriage takes place, the bride is expected to be a virgin according to their cultures and traditions. If the bride is not a virgin by the time she gets married, this will bring much shame to the family because the bride’s virginity is considered to be of high value and pride in Christian marriage. It symbolizes purity and patience on the bride’s part. In particular, rural women have a tendency to marry at a tender age in comparison to their husbands.
Unlike Toronto weddings, the custom in Ethiopia was initially for the bridegroom to wait until he attained the age of thirty for him to marry. This was done in accordance to the biblical example of Jesus where he begun his public ministry at the age of thirty. As per the tradition, the groom’s parents take the responsibility of getting their son a bride. This is very different as compared to Toronto weddings. To ensure that there is no chance of the families being related by blood, the groom’s parents engage in an investigation before they contact the bride’s parents. Once the investigations are through and there is no relationship, the parents of the groom proceed to make contact through a mediator with the prospective bride’s parents. This mediator visits the potential bride’s home and asks her parents if their daughter will marry the other parent’s son.
Often, the bride’s parents impose conditions and the mediator takes a message to the groom’s parents to arrange a meeting at an allocation that is mutually convenient to both parties. If both parents reach a positive agreement, the man and woman are regarded engaged. The parents and all the wedding expenses taken care of by them then set a wedding date. The first time the bride and groom ever set eyes on one other is on the wedding day. This is similar to most Toronto weddings. Both sets of parents invite the guests and prepare drinks and food for them. The groom has to go take his future to be from her matrimonial home. At the wedding ceremony full of song and dancing, just like Toronto ceremonies, the groom gets a dowry from the bride’s parents normally in form, of cattle and money.
When the ceremony ends, the groom takes the bride to his parents’ house where he has three days to take the bride’s virginity. Depending on the economic capabilities of the groom’s parents’ the honeymoon can last from one week to three months’ at the groom’s parent’s house where the best man or men can accompany them. After this, they go to the brides’ parent’s house for a set time together with the best man/men. While on the honeymoon, the bride can only go out after sunset, but not at daytime.