A wedding is one of the most ancient ceremonies of humankind, held differently in various corners of the planet. Each country in the course of historical development sets its own rules, habits, and features of wedding ceremonies. In some places, they are strikingly different, because the countries themselves differ from each other. A vivid example of this is weddings in America and Africa. The purpose of this paper is to identify differences in the wedding ceremonies of these countries.
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Age of Marriage
Modern American wedding rules are quite free: now no one is forcing people to marry at a certain age, and people can spend a long time looking for a partner. In Africa, parents begin to prepare girls for marriage from a young age. They are taught how to housekeeping, sew clothes, embroider, knit, and many other skills (Nanda, 2018). Thus, from childhood, they are preparing to be faithful and caring wives and know what awaits them in the future.
In recent years, there has been a trend towards an increase in marriageable age in America. This is because people want to fulfill their potential, find their place in life, and only then build a family. This happens closer to thirty years or sometimes even later. Marriage in some countries in Africa is at a much earlier age (Pardesi, 2017). Parents have the right to give girls who are thirteen years old to a groom, who was chosen for her by older people and representatives of higher ranks.
Many Americans adhere to quite classic wedding ceremonies proven by time. First, they include a visit to the church, and then communication in the circle of close friends and relatives of the bride and groom. However, now many newlyweds are inventing unusual ceremonies and ways to celebrate the wedding, using all their imagination. In Africa, people often celebrate several marriages on the same day. Then this party turns into some unprecedented celebration, where everyone sings, dances, and has fun (Pardesi, 2017). A wedding can last either one day or a whole week.
An African wedding often includes traditional national dances, songs, and music played by musicians on African national instruments. This adds an unusual traditional flavor to any holiday and helps maintain cultural traditions (Nanda, 2018). In America, weddings seem more restrained and classic: for example, invited groups play romantic songs (often of the 20th century), and dances are quite calm and regular for European traditions.
Making wedding vows or signing a marriage contract depends on the wishes of the young spouses, and this applies to both American and African countries. In any case, even without these two elements, married people get divorced very rarely in Africa. Unfortunately, in America, the situation is not so favorable, and the level of divorce is quite high. In part, this situation arises because African families are more open, and many people know about their relationships. Consequently, if disagreements arise between husband and wife, then older and more experienced relatives and friends try to reconcile the spouses (Pardesi, 2017). In America, what is happening inside the family is a personal matter of the spouses, which often leads to the inability to resolve conflicts independently.
Change of Wedding Traditions
Each country in Africa has its unique customs and traditions, including wedding ones. For example, in some parts of the continent, a bride who had already reached the age of twelve was started to be fed until she gained a high weight. According to fellow tribesmen, such a girl proves that her family is not poor and lives without needing anything (Nanda, 2018). It is not easy to imagine such traditions in American families, but the Americans prove the level of wealth in their ways. A high position, beautiful clothes, and other attributes of prosperous life help in this. They are often quite important factors when choosing a partner.
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Gradually, the national wedding rules of Africa are pushed into the background by European canons. For instance, now young spouses can wear a white wedding dress and a black wedding suit, which can be noted at most American weddings (Pardesi, 2017). On the one hand, this can be considered a negative trend, because the ancient African traditions are forgotten. What were once crucial aspects of people’s lives are now fading into the background. However, on the other hand, thanks to the “Europeanization” of many African countries, the level of wealth of people is growing. It also promotes better intercultural interactions, which allows people to build stronger relationships between countries.
Each country and each people has its unique wedding traditions. Even if they are somewhat similar to the customs of other inhabitants of the planet, they are unique. In most countries, wedding ceremonies originate in antiquity and are based on the beliefs of their ancestors. This cultural heritage must be studied and preserved. In addition, the knowledge of the traditions of other nations contributes to a better understanding of representatives of different cultures. This allows people to build a cohesive, understanding, and open society.
Nanda, S. (2018). Love and marriage: Cultural diversity in a changing world. Waveland Press.
Pardesi, A. (2017). Brides and customs around the world. Dog Ear Publishing.