An African Wedding Ceremony

by: Hoda Joudi Haghighi

“The difference in cultures is amazing,” I said this when I found myself floating in the cultural richness of the different nations that have come together in Carbondale to share their lives and experiences.  

My friend Ayo a diligent Nigerian student, stood tall with strong muscles and a bass voice that commanded attention. Despite his rough exterior, he has a very delicate and calm behavior like a bird in flight. He politely and warmly invited me to go with him to the meeting of Africans in the Student Center. 

African students dressed in traditional clothes
Students dressed in traditional clothes.

As we entered the party hall, we found ourselves amidst a scene of elegance and refinement. Round tables adorned with pristine white tablecloths, intricately embroidered borders, and exquisite porcelain dishes embellished with golden edges awaited the arriving guests. African ladies, dressed in stunning attire and adorned with exquisite jewelry, greeted each other, and welcomed the guests with grace and style. The ambiance exuded glamour and luxury, setting the stage for a memorable evening ahead. 

The allure of this banquet peaked as the African suitors commenced their display. The performance kicked off with the entrance of the bride and groom’s families onto the stage.  Both groups, adorned in tribal-patterned garments embellished with flowers and vibrant colors, made their way to the stage amidst dancing and music echoing throughout the hall.

Ladies wearing flower crowns and their families tossed flowers and paper gifts to the guests. Amidst the shower of paper gifts and music, the bride and groom, dignified in their traditional and elegant attire, joined as the final group on the stage. Each took their place beside their respective families. 

The groom, presenting gifts as a token of his request for his beloved’s hand, is immediately rejected by the bride’s family, prompting the guests’ laughter to fill the air. The groom, undeterred by the initial rejection, makes another proposal, only to face rejection once more. However, undaunted, he persists, demanding the girl from his family for the third time. For the third time, the family decides to reconsider the suitor.  

Eventually, the wedding proceeded, and the band on stage invited all the guests to leave their seats and gather in the square to dance. The lively and energetic African music lifted everyone from their seats, and amid dancing and foot stomping, they played some well-known tunes.

African students harmonized singing famous songs with the band as they joined in the celebration. They danced and sang so passionately that guests couldn’t resist joining in, and soon enough, they were left breathless and unable to stand on their feet any longer. The guests left the celebration with enthusiasm and excitement, ready to return to their studies and responsibilities. 

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