Awakening Africa Magazine

Culture & art

Types and Kinds of African Weddings and Wedding Dances

2 Mins read

When it comes to weddings, Africans are known to respect their traditions and culture, which is why they usually go all out to make their events memorable. Their weddings are not only lavish and filled with hundreds of people, but they include a lot of traditional wedding rituals and, of course, plenty of dancing. The concept of marriage is also prevalent in Africa, as research shows that 70% of women in Nigeria between 15 to 49 years were married.

Types of African Weddings

1. Religious Weddings

As Africa is home to people who belong to different religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, weddings often consist of people following religious teachings. This includes church weddings in Africa for Christians and weddings held in the Mosque for Muslims. These weddings are usually a mix of culture and religion both.

2. Civil Weddings

A civil wedding in Africa is usually solemnized at offices where marriages are held, such as the Department of Home Affairs. Such a marriage takes place without a religious ceremony and usually involves the signing of the papers in front of witnesses. For a civil marriage to take place, at least 2 to 3 witnesses must be present.

3. Traditional Weddings

Traditional marriage ceremonies in Africa connect the bride and groom’s families together. It includes dowry payment, engagement, and matching dresses for the bridesmaid. Other traditions include the “knocking on the door” ceremony, a knot is formed above the bride and groom, known as the “Kente” knot, and braided grass or tied rope signifies that the marriage has been finalized.

Kinds of African Wedding Dances

1. Adumu Dance

One of the most popular traditional dances is the Adumu dance, popularly known as the jumping dance. It is performed by the iconic Maasai tribe of Tanzania and Kenya. This is usually performed on important occasions like weddings and celebrations. Along with being a form of entertainment, it represents strength and stability. Adumu dancers usually wear colourful necklaces, beads, and shawls to represent tradition.

2. Indlamu Dance

Associated with the Zulu tribe of South Africa, the Indlamu Dance was initially introduced among men to show off their strength and control of weapons. It is a very high-spirited dance that is popularly performed during celebrations and wedding ceremonies. This dance is performed by lifting one foot over the head and then bringing it down sharply. Usually, two people together perform this dance by copying each other’s moves.

3. Gota Dance

A special kind of dance that is performed by the people of the Volta Region of Ghana, it is a high-energy dance that moves your body with every beat. It is performed by the youth in social gatherings such as weddings, and kpalongo drums are also used, which further help create a unique sound during the dance. It is a highly engaging dance that attracts the audience and makes the people love the dance allowing the use of the whole body during the dance.

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