I was invited to a traditional wedding a few days ago. It’s my second wedding and I found it even more interesting this time.

The traditional ceremony starts off with the a skit of sorts which is how the groom’s family basically bribe the bride’s family to let her join their family.

The family of the bride gather at the dad’s house. The bride is not there, but the rest of the family is. After a while, the groom and his family, godfather and close friends arrive at the house and sit together, opposite the father of the bride.

The dad (or representative for the dad, in this last case since the dad was pretty old, his oldest son spoke for him) asks the dad of the bride what they’re doing there. Richard, who was representing his dad noticed that he came along with a police commissioner. He asked if there was some kind of criminal problem that they don’t know about. The dad then rises and said there is no problem, he just came along for support. Then he told a story about how his son has found someone to cook him plantains.

Richard rises and says there are no plantains there and that he still doesn’t believe that the commissioner of police isn’t here for something (police are often corrupt and he was playing to that, to the amusement of all).

The dad rises and responds that he promises the commissioner is not here for any trouble, and that he is looking for the woman who can cook his son plantains.

This goes back and forth, the bride’s family playing dumb until they finally agree to go get her, but because she is not there, they have to go get her, and they need money for the plane ride.

They take the money then leave, then the mom comes back with one of her daughters. The wrong one. The groom’s family doesn’t want that daughter, they want a different one. “Est que elle connais preparer le tarot”, “Does she even know how to prepare tarot (a traditional food).”

The daughter responds that she does and that its really good. this goes back and forth until the grooms family agrees to give more money to go get the right daughter back.

And this whole skit continues for at least half an hour, much to everyones amusement.

Finally, the right daughter comes out and the groom’s family cheers and celebrate. Then they ask to bring her into her family. The bride then ceremonially serve palm wine and a traditional seed that is sweet but in a different way than sugar.

Afterwards, everyone eats dinner (by now it is 2am), and then the younger people along with the bride and groom stay up all night and dance and party.

Next day, at 8am they go to the Chief’s palace and sign the paperwork, then come back to the dad’s house eat and drink some more.

Marriages and the ceremonies has lost their meaning in their culture, and it was refreshing seeing a tradition who’s roots extend for thousands of years, and is still kept alive today, and gives depth to the act.

btw, polygamy is legal here and the groom might marry another woman later on.